All events

     Here we report, in reverse chronological order, the extraordinary sequence of activities that have occurred over the last years.
     We will update this page of our AVASA website for each new event. Who is interested in receiving bulletins via e-mail should write to the director of AVASA.

October-December 2019

October 12, 2019
Jets over the expedition house

     Today we have been informed that a Turkish fighting jet flew directly over the Expedition House, luckily without dropping any bomb. The house had been vacated in the past days, and no-one is there at the moment.
     We are kept constantly informed by our local colleagues and workmen. A statement from the DGAM regarding archaeology in the threatened area can be found at this link.

October 11, 2019
War is all around Urkesh

     Just as we were making plans for the future, thinking of new projects which involved schools in Qamishli, conceiving new exhibitions and cultural activities that would have had Urkesh as their focal point...our greatest fears become reality.
     War is frighteningly close to our site, to our colleagues and friends who every day take care of the fragile structures of our ancient city, to the home of the mission that has welcomed us for so many years.
     At the moment, the village of Mozan and the site of Urkesh, located just 5 km away from the Turkish border, are safe, but the bombs have not spared the nearby centers. In particular, we have been informed that the nearby center of Amuda has been bombed.


July-September 2019

September 13, 2019
The dignity of archaeology

     In the past weeks, we have received some requests for help from three of our long-time Syrian collaborators.
     Each of them has had to face different, but equally severe, difficulties over the last few months: their stories are described at this page.
     As AVASA, we have decided to give them financial support: this is also part of the concrete assistance that we are determined to give to all members of the great family of Urkesh.

September 11, 2019
End of maintenance work in J1 area

     Last June we begun an important maintenance work on the wall of the Temple Terrace, in particular in the area labeled as J1: this major conservation work has indeed occupied most of our energies during the summer.
     This year's torrential rain had caused serious damages to the entire area, putting the stability of the monumental revetment wall in jeopardy and causing a structural damage.
     Now that the work has been finalized, our colleague Amer Ahmed has sent us a detailed report which reviews the phases of the work that has been carried out, on a day-to-day basis and with many explanatory photographs.


August 30, 2019
New webpages added on the AVASA website

     The AVASA website has been enriched with new pages related to various research projects that revolve around Urkesh.
     In the new section we present several researchers and students working on many aspects of the ancient and modern Urkesh, carrying out projects from the different locations of our 'global campus'.
     Each single study, each new discovery, each publication contributes to making our site more and more alive, in a constant dialogue between past and present.


July 22, 2019
The support of our founders: Cariplo, AVSI, Steinmetz

     The founders have confirmed their trust in AVASA once again this year: during this spring/summer season Cariplo, AVSI and Steinmetz Family Foundation have communicated to us that we can count on their generous support also for 2019.
     We are thankful to all those who believe in our projects, and together with all our American, European and Syrian collaborators we want to publicly express our gratitude.
     We also remind you that everyone can contribute and support our activities: every little help is precious!


July 12, 2019
A new introduction to Tell Mozan

     Starting from today, a new leaflet is available to all those who visit Urkesh. We have in fact finalized a new, updated and more complete version of the flyer that we had already prepared 10 years ago within the context of the project "The Site as a Book".
     The new leaflet not only describes the many activities that have developed and are taking place today in Tell Mozan thanks to our support, but it is also enriched with information about the area of the Palace of Tupkish, so as to allow a fully informed visit to the site.
     The flyer, available in English and Arabic, is already being distributed, thanks to the collaboration of our Syrian colleagues.


July 08, 2019
Important maintenance work on the wall of the Temple Terrace

     Last winter's torrential rain caused serious damages to the Temple Terrace area, jeopardising the stability of the revetment wall and causing a structural damage to the large section of the J1 area.
     Our colleagues on the site immediately alerted us and, after a careful analysis by the team of archaeologists in the U.S. and Europe, assisted by the timely comments of Syrian collaborators, we identified a strategy to follow to secure the area and the ancient wall structures.
     For several weeks now, a team of workers has been intervening on site, sending us regular reports of the work done with numerous photographs. Soon, as soon as the work has been completed, we will upload a detailed report on this site.


April-June 2019

June 17, 2019
Matteo Delle Donne, Agricoltura, alimentazione e paleoambiente della Jazira siriana tra IV e III mill. a.C. – le evidenze da Tell Mozan

     A new publication presents the results of studies on archeobotanical remains from excavations at Urkesh/Tell Mozan. The volume is the result of the author's long-standing collaboration with the archaeological mission, and the analysis of materials carried out on site during the excavations.
     The results of the research on the archeobotanical remains from Urkesh/Mozan are of great importance for what they tell us about the paleoenvironment of the region, especially thanks to a comparative analysis with the data analyzed by neighboring sites, located in today's north-eastern Syria.

Delle Donne

May 18, 2019
The exhibit at the Cotsen Institute, UCLA, is now open

     An exhibition entitled "The Millennia for Today. Archaeology Against War: Yesterday's Urkesh in Today's Syria", was inaugurated today, May 18, 2019, on the occasion of the Open House of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. The event was part of the Millennial Celebrations for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
     During the four hours of opening, the Open House was attended by five hundred people: the exhibition will remain permanently open in the Fowler Hall, the seat of the Cotsen Institute.
     A report of this event report is available at this link.


May 15, 2019
Tell Mozan in Berlin

     "Tell Mozan and the possibilities of cultural protection from below".
     This is the title of an invited lecture given by Federico Buccellati at the Freie University in Berlin, within the frame of a Seminar entitled "Basics and development of cultural property protection in the Middle East".
     Federico Buccellati has provided evidence of the efficient Site Preservation Project carried out at Tell Mozan, also addressing wider issues such as Cultural Heritage and Community Archaeology.


May 5, 2019
A research seminar on Urkesh, in Urkesh..

     Thirty-two students from the new Roj Ava University in Qamishli, together with our local collaborator Amer Ahmed and their teacher Sipan Ismail, organized a seminar on Urkesh at our site.
     Divided into eight small groups, the students had collected material on Tell Mozan, its history and the history of its rediscovery before the visit, and each group had prepared a presentation and a written panel on a particular aspect of the excavations and material culture of ancient Urkesh.
     Then, standing on the large monumental staircase leading to the temple, they presented their research to each other, comparing what they had read in the books with what they had seen with their own eyes at Tell Mozan.A report written by Amer Ahmed is available at this link.

MZ seminar

May 2, 2019
A new support for the exhibit "The Millennia for Today"

     Today we have been informed that the new Italian date of our traveling exhibition, originally set up for the Meeting in Rimini, has been granted an important economic support from the local center "Centro di Servizio per il Volontariato - Centro Solidarietà e Sussidiarietà Servizi per il Territorio Novara e VCO".
     This represents a significant endorsement for our project and for the exhibition "The Millennia for Today", which will be soon set up in Domodossola, Italy, in the same city where the children involved in our Schools Project live, and the city that had already hosted an exhibition on Urkesh in 2015.


April 14, 2019
The rain does not stop the visits to the site

     Unusual images come from our site: lush vegetation and open umbrellas..
     Our local collaborator, Amer Ahmed, explained to us that about 55 students from two schools in the area defied the rain to visit our site, without sparing their enthusiasm looking at the ruins of Urkesh, despite the weather conditions (at this page you can find Amer's report).
     The students visited the entire archaeological area, asking Amer many questions about the ancient inhabitants of the city, the ceremonies that took place in the abi, how a tell as tall as Mozan could be formed... and they even asked how long they would have to wait to see the entire Palace brought to light.
     The photos that we received show at the same time the incredible dedication of our colleague Amer, and the beauty of these new generations who joyfully observe the vestiges of their past.


April 11, 2019
Conservation Students visiting the Mesopotamian Lab

      On April 11th Conservation students apart of the Getty Museum program visited the Mesopotamian Lab at the UCLA Cotsen Institute.
     On April 11-3 2019, the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program hosted a graduate student Conservation Conference (organized by the Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation, at the Getty and at UCLA. In attendance, were faculty and students from eight North American conservation institutions. During the Conference, students from the various programs shared research or treatment projects in the form of 20-minute "long talks" an took part in one of two lightning round sessions (consisting of eight 3-minute long talks). On the morning of April 11, the Conference kicked off with tours of the Fowler Museum Conservation lab and of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology labs.
     Some thirty participants visited the Mesopotamian lab, for three successive presentations, by Professors Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati, of the Urkesh conservation program. They stressed the role of local help, pride in the territory, and how this intertwines with the upkeep of the site, ending with the musical project bridging two schools through archaeology.

Getty lecture Getty lecture

January-March 2019

March 14, 2019
A conference on Urkesh in Kiel

     On the occasion of the International Workshop Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI, at the German University of Kiel, Hiba Qassar gave a lecture entitled "Archaeology and Syrian Identity: 'Urkesh Gate', a good Tale from Syria".
     The conference raised considerable interest, and it prompted a discussion on the possibility of following the example of Mozan as a method to be applied in other Mediterranean sites.
     At this page you can find a description of the event by Hiba Qassar.


March 13, 2019
Visiting villages

     With our awareness campaign we have reached them in every village, and now they have reciprocated the visit..
     Today a large group of visitors from different centers around Tell Mozan, more than 50 people, came to see the archaeological site. This was a new opportunity to show them how important it is to preserve not only the ancient site of Urkesh, but also the beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
     Men, women and children who had already met Amer at presentations in the villages now followed him in the Temple area and then inside the Palace, to discover their common roots.


March 13, 2019
Spanish tourists at Urkesh

     European tourists continue to visit our site: today we welcomed six female tourists from Spain.
     Enthusiastic about the possibility of visiting the archaeological site, and pleasantly surprised to find it so tidy and ready to receive visitors, the women wanted to leave a written message to all those who care about Urkesh: "It is important to know roots of the history and to preserve this treasure. The knowledge of the history will give us tools better understand the present and to build the future. Congratulations! Thank you all".


March 11, 2019
Two more schools visiting Urkesh

     The site of Urkesh is very crowded, in these beautiful spring days..
     On Monday, March 11, two schools from cities near Tell Mozan visited the excavations. A total of 75 children, led by our local collaborator Amer Ahmed, were able not only to discover aspects of their past, but also to see how an archaeological site works and even touch some ancient materials.
     At the end of their visit, they said that they were happy to have been able to see so closely the monuments of their "ancestors".


February 26 - March 12, 2019
Digital work at UCLA

     Bernardo Forni, our IT manager, spent ten days at the Mesopotamian Lab of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, where the server containing all the data of the projects related to Urkesh resides. During his stay, he upgraded the software and hardware to current standards, which makes the system safer and faster. He also met with the various members of the Urkesh group in Los Angeles, to better coordinate the joint work: the photo shows him there together with the directors of our projects, Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, working with the server.


February 24-25, 2019
New schools visiting Urkesh

     On February, 24th and 25th, visits by children and youngsters to the site of Urkesh started again, with three school groups of various ages led by our local collaborator, Amer.
     In the photo you can see the youngest schoolchildren reading carefully the sheets contained in the Palace panorama, that has been recently renovated in view of these occasions, which will become more and more numerous with the arrival of spring.
     The schools that arrived in Urkesh were those of the nearby village of Mozan, of Maamarlo (one of the villages reached by our awareness campaign) and of Almaza Khalil.

MZ school

February 20, 2019
A new panorama for the Palace

     The heavy rains of the last few weeks do not only endanger the walls of the Palace and the sections of our site: some recent photos sent to us showed that the sheets of the panorama of the Palace were also damaged (picture on the side, top).
     So we immediately wrote to our collaborators on the site, to arrange for their replacement... and once again they showed us all their efficiency and archaeological sensitivity.
     Even before we asked them to intervene, they had printed new sheets, with which they promptly replaced the damaged ones (on the side, below).
     The panorama is now ready to welcome new tourists, which we expect many with the beginning of spring.

old new

January 10, 2019
Heavy rains and sections
in front of the Temple Terrace

     Our workers at Tell Mozan contacted us urgently to solve a problem that arose in the area called J1, which is located along the revetment wall of the Temple Terrace.
     The climate once again challenges us: an extraordinarily rainy autumn, with violent and extremely intense rains, have endangered the stability of the high sections that are in this area. With their urgent request for help and the contextual sending of extremely detailed images and videos, our collaborators have shown us once again all their archaeological sensitivity and passion for their work.
      Their commitment is even more moving, knowing that four houses in the village of Mozan have also been destroyed by violent rains, including the home of one of our workmen.
     All together, we are now working to find a solution as quickly as possible.


October-December 2018

November 1, 2018
Urkesh in the news

     The reopening of the National Museum of Damascus and the current situation in Syria have inspired an article that appeared on the blog of the Italian journalist and writer Robi Ronza (the link is available on our website, under In the media).
     In his article, Ronza recognizes Urkesh as "a very special but truly extraordinary case", and offers an explanation as to why our presence at the reopening of the Museum was particularly significant and relevant from a not exclusively archaeological perspective.


December 19, 2018
A French Delegation visits our exhibition in Damascus

     A small yet interested delegation from France visited our exhibition on Urkesh, set up for the re-opening of the National Archaeological Museum in Damascus.
     The images on the right show the visitors entering the Museum and looking at the panels. The photographs have been shot and sent to us by Fatat Jdid, the Director of the Modern Art section of the Museum.

French French

December 9, 2018
New visit at Tell Mozan

     Samuel Sweeney, an American writer and researcher currently living in Erbil (Iraq), visited Tell Mozan together with our local colleague and collaborator, Amer Ahmed.
     Samuel is visiting many sites in Syria in order to write an article on the subject, and was really impressed by what he saw at the site. Amer has documented this visit through a report and numerous photographs, which you can read and see here.


November 14-17, 2018
Urkesh at ASOR (Denver, USA)

     Federico Buccellati attended the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) held in Denver (USA), with a presentation entitled "Research, Communication, and Identity in Times of Crisis: The Example of Tell Mozan".
     A large audience composed of colleagues from all over the world could thus hear how the archaeological mission is still active in Urkesh, and be informed about the numerous activities constantly supported by AVASA.


Octiber 28-29, 2018
Urkesh at the re-opening of the Archaeological Museum in Damascus

     Finally, in Damascus, the National Archaeological Museum reopens after seven years of closure due to the war.
     The inauguration ceremony, organized by the Ministry of Culture - Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, was accompanied by a 2-day international symposium attended by numerous Syrian and European archaeologists and scholars.
     Urkesh was also present on this important occasion: through a conference entitled "Site-museum interaction: the case of Tell Mozan, ancient Urkesh", and with the exhibition "Millennia for today" - completely translated into Arabic for the occasion.
     At this link you can find a detailed report of this event.


July-September 2018

August 31, 2018
A new official recognition

     Today we received an important news: AVASA has been registered in the section "Protection and furthering value in the historical and artistic heritage" of the Regional Register of Voluntary Organizations - Decentralized Office of Verbano Cusio Ossola.
     This is an important recognition of the work carried out by our association in these first years of life, which pushes us to deepen and expand our cooperations in the Piedmont area while helping to create closer ties between Italy and Syria.
     Our commitment to the furthering value in cultural heritage continues, with even greater enthusiasm..


August 19-25, 2018
Urkesh in Rimini: a successful exhibition

     Our experience in Rimini with the exhibition ""MILLENNIA FOR TODAY. Archeology against War: yesterday's Urkesh in today's Syria" is now over.
     More than four thousand people visited our event, which included printed panels, materials arrived directly from Syria, videos and a "dark room" where one could listen to a special audio track: the music written specifically for this event by the middle school kids from Domodossola.
     A group of tireless guides ensured a constant presence throughout the pavilion opening, and the curators were always present to accompany guests and attend meetings open to groups of all ages.
Here we give a more detailed account of the event.


August 2-3, 2018
Towards the Meeting: briefing with Yasmine Mahmoud

     Yasmine Mahmoud, a Syrian collaborator and PhD student in Pavia with an archaeological project concerning the items found in Urkesh, meets Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati among the Piedmont mountains, to finalize the last details in view of the exhibition to be held during the Meeting in Rimini, which it will open in about two weeks.
     Yasmine will be present, along with two other Syrian collaborators of the project and other members of AVASA, from the first day of the exhibition: on this occasion, therefore, visitors will have the opportunity to speak directly with those who work every day in order to ensure that Urkesh continues to live and prosper.


July 1, 2018
Towards the Meeting: the first encounter with the guides

     Today the group of guides who collaborate in the exhibition organized for the 2018 Meeting first met with the Directors of the project.
     At first, they reflected on the idea behind the very realization of this event: the need to highlight the hidden and precious value of archeology, a value that made itself evident precisely when it was no longer possible to go in person to the site, to carry out excavations. Directors and guides, then, reflected on how an exhibition like the one that will take place in Rimini is indeed an opportunity to show the vitality of an archaeological site like Urkesh, and to contribute to its becoming a 'center for the renewal of civic society'.
     Finally, while analyzing the structure of the 2018 exhibition, the guides had the chance of hearing as a preview the music composed by the students of the "Scuola Media" in Domodossola, specifically for the event..


April-June 2018

June 23, 2018
"Archaeology for Peace" in Leiden

     Once again, our project has been the protagonist of a major event: this time in Leiden, in the Netherlands. The university of Leiden, in collaboration with the associations "Ex Oriente Lux" and "Oriental Landscape Leiden" has invited the Profs. Buccellati to an entire day of debate and reflection about the topic "Archeology for Peace".
     The event included an exhibition on Urkesh which showed the latest projects carried out on the site together with the local communities, as well as a conference. Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati explained how Urkesh, today, is a symbol of pride in a shared past and a united future.
     The day has ended with an evening performance by the "New European Ensemble & Geert Mul", with music inspired by the Syrian city of Palmyra.

credits: Eric van Nieuwland

June 18, 2018
Event in San Marino

     In Villa Manzoni, in the Republic of San Marino, there has been a conference entitled "I valori nascosti dell'archeologia: un episodio della guerra in Siria" ("The hidden values of archaeology: an episode of the Syrian war"), promoted by the State Congress of the Republic of San Marino in collaboration with Banca di San Marino SpA and the Foundation "Meeting per l'Amicizia fra i Popoli".
     In addition to the directors of the Tell Mozan/Urkesh project, Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati, also Nicola Renzi (Italian Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Justice), Domenico Lombardi (CEO of the Banca di San Marino SpA), and Emilia Guarnieri (President of the Foundation "Meeting per l'Amicizia fra i Popoli") took part to this initiative.
     This has been the occasion to discuss about the current situation in Syria and the role that archaeology can play in order to restore the profound value of the dispersed or destroyed cultural heritage, and give it back to the Syrian population.


June 12, 2018
Tourists from Spain, Russia and the United Kingdom at Urkesh!

     Our collaborators from the site today sent us a surprising news: on the same day, tourists from Spain, Russia and the United Kingdom have come to Urkesh!
     Being aware of the uniqueness of this event, our Syrian colleagues and archaeologists have recorded some videos, with short interviews that they made to these visitors, and then sent these videos to us.
     Everyone expressed surprise and admiration for the work done by the archaeological mission to ensure the continuous use of the site and to protect the Palace and the monumental terrace of the Temple area.


June 11, 2018
The end of the awareness campaign

     In the past days, the last 9 villages have been reached. The campaign is over! Toki, Ranko, Joldara, Jamerli, Oljya, Shork, Ghazalik, Sorka and Hasda were the last ones to host Ristom and Amer.
     Finally, we managed to go to every village, from the most populous ones to those in which only 2 or 3 families live today.
     Understandably, we have encountered different levels of interest and participation but what matters the most is our having brought in each village the perspective of the eco-archaeological park, the awareness of a shared past and a concrete project for a future of hope.


June 7, 2018
The kids from the school project meet for the first time

     The kids from Qamishli and Domodossola who take part to the school project finally got to know each other!
     Today, for the first time, they spoke through Skype, each in their own classes and accompanied by their educators. Speaking in English directly with each other, the kids exchanged information about themselves and their schools, spoke about their passions and habits, and they even played live several instruments, thus sharing their music.
     This was the first step towards an even greater involvement, to be cultivated and developed as soon as the schools will start again in Italy, in September..


May 2018
The awareness campaign in 6 more villages

     Tell Mozan, Karah Kob, Foukani, Bab al khair, Oul al Rabia, Briva. Our awareness campaign continues to move across the Urkesh region.
     This month has also seen a particularly moving and significant moment for our project: the presentation in Tell Mozan. Among those who were seated in the small desks of the school kindly made available for the event, sat many of those workers who participated in our excavation campaigns in the past. And, in the front row, their sons - some of them possibly cannot even remember that, as children, they visited us on the excavations together with their fathers and mothers.
     Our initiative is becoming more and more known throughout the area: our local collaborators tell us that in some villages the participation is particularly active, and those taking part in the presentations arrive "prepared", having also spoken to others who attended the campaign in the other villages.
     Interest is growing, as it also growing the expectation for the moment when the Park will finally be a reality.


May 12, 2018
UCLA Cotsen Institute Open House

     Once a year, the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology hosts an open house for the students and public, giving them accessibility to observe the ongoing projects happening in the labs of the institute including ours. This year's 2018 Open House, we decided to display our ongoing relationship and our role at the excavated site, Urkesh.
     A separate page give more details on this event.

desks posters

May 10, 2018
Flooding in Mozan

     A bad storm has battered the site on May 10. We have seen images like these before, and they give evidence of how damaging the weather can be. At the same time, the immediate monitoring we receive of the situation in the field and of the occasional finds that emerge from the flooding (like the animal figurine shown here), are indicative of the coordination we have in place for assessing the damage and mitigating it as much as possible.
     A separate page give more details on this event.

figurine2 flooding in J2

April 25, 2018
Opening of the exhibition in Qamishli

     Based on the one that had been previously set up in Beirut in November 2017, this exhibition brings Urkesh to Urkesh – which is a bit like bringing owls to Athens ... The exhibition highlights the spirit of pride in the past that everyone shares in Urkesh, a past that these communities have internalized even more during these dark seven years of war.
     Organized by fellow archeologists from Qamishli, and translated into Arabic and Kurdish, the event will also include a series of guided tours for our friends from the many villages in the Urkesh hinterland. We illustrate in a separate page some details of the exhibition.

Qam Exh

April 19, 2018
Awareness campaign in Simitek Ezzo and Maamarlo

     Today, our awareness campaign reached two new villages: Simitek Ezzo and Maamarlo.
     Participation was different in numbers (about thirty people in the first village, twelve in the second) but similar with respect to the attention given to the words of our collaborators. The video shown at the beginning of each meeting, in which the project directors Giorgio and Marilyn greet and directly address the participants, always affects the attendants. In this way, we really enter their homes, as guests of their culture and history.


April 18, 2018
More teachers-to-be visit Mozan

      Visits to Urkesh have never stopped throughout the year, but with spring the Tell is even more crowded: here we see a second large group of future teachers, arrived in Mozan with two buses.
     Accompanied by Amer, they visited the entire archaeological site: starting from the monumental staircase to the palace, and inside the abi.
     Their amazed faces make them similar to those youngsters, to whom they will one day teach the history of this place...


April 17, 2018
The new middle school students visiting the site

     Also for this group, the visit to the excavations follows the first contacts made during class lessons. As always, a sense of joy shines through when these kids look at the monuments that still transmit life.
     Soon we will receive the first texts written by these children, with their reflections on what is the sense, according to them, of studying the past and looking for their roots in their territory of origin. And perhaps this visit to ancient Urkesh will have given them new answers.

Arm in MZ

April 14, 2018
Kids from the Qamishli Orchestra visiting Mozan

     Buses are now part of the normal Mozan landscape. What a contrast to the refugee columns we see elsewhere in Syria, not to mention the trucks with armed soldiers... Here we see the young orchestra Roj Ava of Qamishli, just arrived at the site and ready to explore the ruins of ancient Urkesh.
      The very establishment, in September 2016, of this orchestra that brings together 32 children aged between 7 and 16 represents a source of hope for this region of Syria. And many of these budding musicians are involved in our schools project!


April 13, 2018
Teachers visiting Mozan

     This time it is not young students who visit the site, but those who are preparing to become teachers. We see them here, as they listen to a brief introductory lecture by Amer Ahmad, our colleague from Qamishli.
      We like to think that, once they will have completed their education and become teachers in the towns and villages of the region, they will also bring their students to visit Urkesh, and explain to them the important role of the Hurrian civilization for the history of the ancient Near East.


April 5, 2018
Awareness campaign in Sabahia

     The meeting held in Sabahia also brought together the very few inhabitants who are still living in Kurdu, a small village inhabited by only three families. In total, there were forty-five participants: once again, men, women and children, united by the curiosity to know more about the history of their region. None of the attendants had ever been to Urkesh as a workman during the excavations, yet at the end of the meeting they asked our collaborators when we will return among them, to resume our work.
      This is precisely the interest we want to raise with our campaign, hoping to be able to give soon a positive response to this kind of questions.


April 4, 2018
New middle school students join the program

     These are the seeds of peaceful cohabitation that we want to help cultivate and reinforce. In April, the students of another middle schools of Qamishli (Armenian, Arabic and Kurds) also joined the students of the English school. Together with the kids of Domodossola, they will work on a project that invites them to reflect on the history, and their sense of the past.
     Here they are, each one with a copy of the Beirut exhibition catalog. Starting from today, the students will undertake a constructive dialogue with the other schools: we are waiting impatiently for the result of their new adventure.


January-March 2018

March 28, 2018
Conference at the BANEA conference, Durham University (UK)

     Our project was presented at the annual conference of the British Association for Near East Archeology, BANEA. In particular, we have emphasized the three "pillars" on which our project is based: conservation of the archaeological site, research and education program, and support for the local economy. Always counting on the relationship of mutual trust that has been established over the years between the directors of the excavations with the local communities.
     The results obtained at Tell Mozan, despite the simplicity of the means at our disposal and the economy of the resources that we use, have been recognized also on this occasion as a unique example of resilience and presence on the territory.


March 2018
The Qamishli middle schools in Urkesh

     Following lessons for Qamishli middle school kids, we organized three school trips to the site of Urkesh. Many students had in fact written that they had never visited it, and this was an opportunity to introduce them directly to the monuments (here they are in the C sector of the Tupkish Palace) and to deepen their knowledge of what an excavation means.


March 1, 2018
Hajji Nasr awareness program

     In the village of Hajji Nasr, about thirty people gathered in a private house: this gives an almost intimate tone to the meeting, thus making the sense of the message we want to bring them even more alive.
      We see here Ristam Abdo and Amer Ahmad, our colleagues from Qamishli who organized the entire program, with extreme professionalism and incomparable dedication. This synergy of purpose unites us in unexpected ways, that are even more wonderful because of the great crisis caused by the war.

Hajji Nasr

Februrary 22, 2018
Awareness program at Topez

     With this first meeting, our awareness campaign for the landscape and archeology begins in the villages around Mozan. Going to the very heart of their lives, that is, in the villages in which they live, we enjoy the privilege of their hospitality. We offer them, in return, hospitality in that past which belong to them, and that we have brought to light.
     This first meeting took place in the school of Topez, where thirty-five people from the village met: adults and children, men and women.


Februrary 2018
The essays of the Domodossola middle school

      The twinning between schools begins to bear its first fruits: the students, aided by their educators, have written short essays with their reflections on the history, and their attachment to the family and to the territory.
      Kids have asked themselves what "home" means for them, how they feel connected to local traditions, how they would feel if they were forced to leave the place where they were born .. The answers of Italians and Syrians are, understandably, very different from each other. Yet, each one of these answers teaches us something about the sensitivity of these youngsters, and it questions us about our own perception of these issues.
     Once translated into English, they could read the thoughts of their counterparts, in Syria and Italy. And soon they will "meet" (virtually) and discuss these topics in person!


January 2018
Urkesh at the Qamishli middle school

      In January, our project to raise awareness towards the past among the children started in Qamishli. Here are our first students, smiling and proud in their class where they meet in the afternoon to study English.
     The project currently involves a twinning with a music middle school in Domodossola, where three classes have already begun to reflect on the value of the past from the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year. We are sure that from this newly established dialogue we will all have much to learn, about ourselves and the younger generations.

Qam school

October-December 2017

December 2017
Visiting Mozan from Erbil (Iraq)

      The situation in Syria and the winter months do not prevent the presence of visitors to Mozan, even from abroad: in December we have welcomed students from Iraq.
      Thanks to the new panels for the presentation of the site, recently restored and put back in place on the site to welcome those who come to visit the archaeological area, anyone can find information and insights on Urkesh. Moreover, the constant presence of our local collaborators guarantees a real "personalized" guide to the site: here we see Mohammed Omo, one of our longest-standing collaborators, while explaining some details of the building and of the objects that have been found inside it.


December 20, 2017
Christmas market in Domodossola

     Since 2013 we have supported a small group of Arab and Kurdish women, who gather to create simple objects in wool, cotton and local materials that are, then, sold in the cities and villages around Tell Mozan. This project, started as a workshop for young women, has now become a school for little girls, who learn how to knit, embroider, and create simple jewels. But above all, they learn how to live together and collaborate for a shared project.
      In 2017, the objects created by these girls, arrived directly from Syria, were exhibited at the Christmas market set up in the same institute in Domodossola that is also involved in our school project.


December 15, 2017
Conferences at the University of Pavia

     Two conferences on Urkesh have been held in Pavia; we were guests of Prof. Clelia Mora.
     Yasmine Mahmoud, a graduate student of the history program at the University of Pavia, came for the occasion from Damascus, and we see her here together with Prof. Mora, Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati, in the "Biblioteca Teresiana", the place of one of the two conferences. The other conference was given to a group of high school students, to whom we presented in particular our middle schools program.


December 8, 2017
Medal of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

     The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in Shanghai awarded a research medal to our project, for its contribution to the theoretical dimension of preservation of archaeological sites in their current context.
      The Academy, in particular, recognized the "new face" of the archeology carried out at Tell Mozan: a truly "public" archeology, which aims at a thorough and conscious involvement of local communities as opposed to a blind fanaticism, which refuses history. We propose, instead, an aware use of archeology, thus transformed into a "trampoline" for the future.
      Fanxi Xu, a member of the Mission who now lives in Shanghai, collected the medal.


December 1, 2017
Lecture at the "Urkesh musical group" in Domodossola

     Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati met the youngsters who had accepted the challenge of preparing a musical interpretation of the exhibition that we are preparing for Rimini. During the lesson, the Professors presented the excavation of Urkesh and the conservation techniques used on the site, but above all they provided an overview on the general situation of the area, explaining how the local population responds to the "provocation" of archaeology.
      The kids, under the guidance of Prof. Enzo Sartori, showed a lively interest and enthusiastically engaged in carrying out the project.


November 15, 2017
Exhibition and round table on Urkesh in Beirut

     In November 2017, we organized an exhibition at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, entitled "Archeology for a Young Future". On this occasion, we talked about our many activities carried out at Tell Mozan and its surrounding region, despite the 6 years of war and the prolonged absence of the archaeological mission from the site. We aimed to show how the physical absence is opposed by a constant and ever more profound moral presence, though which we want to give hope and confidence particularly to the younger generations.
      A round table, which saw the participation of Syrian colleagues involved in the preservation of the archaeological heritage of the country, has further enriched the initiative.


October 30, 2017
Presentation to the music school of Domodossola

      With this meeting the school project officially starts, involving dozens of students in Italy and Syria. In a hall packed of students, the directors of the archaeological excavation of Urkesh/Tell Mozan, Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati, described to the children the site and its importance, not only for Syria but for the whole history of the development of civilizations in the ancient world.
      From now on, it will be up to the young people who have attended this meeting to question themselves, together with their educators, and to exchange provocations on themes related to the past, cultural traditions and the protection of the landscape.


July-September 2017

August 2017
Federico Buccellati, Three-dimensional Volumetric Analysis in an Archaeological Context

      From now on, the final publication of the Tupkish Palace in Urkesh, by F. Buccellati, is available online for free, and in paper format for a nominal price of $ 15.
     In addition to offering a detailed architectural analysis of the structure, the volume also deals extensively with methodological issues, drawing significant conclusions on the local economy and the society that have made the construction of such a complex building possible.