The paramount commitment remains that of scientific research. As captivating as everything else may be, our fundamental task remains the study that leads to an understanding of the past. And in this sense, AVASA works on two fronts.
The ancient city of Urkesh is our "laboratory" also from the point of view of research. Our research effort is therefore carried out both on site, through the analysis of data stored in the Mission's archives and the collaboration with local universities - as well as away from the site, in Italy and elsewhere, for the deepening of documentary and theoretical aspects of archeology in general, and of Urkesh in particular.
On site In addition to the documentation of the Site Conservation Project, we have carried out a large project of scanning the archive material prior to the digital age.
Another important project consists in the analysis of ceramic material stored in the mission house: a local specialist who was instructed at the mission school during the excavations analyzed about 70,000 fragments, of which we received the complete documentation in digital format, via the Internet. The same specialist gave two seminars on ceramic analysis to groups of university students in the village close to Urkesh.
In the summer of 2017, we also contributed to the organization of a two-day seminar in excavation techniques for a group of about twenty students, always from the local university, since Urkesh is the only site in the region where it is still possible to practice directly with excavation material.
In Italy and elsewhere. AVASA supports three Syrian students who are carrying out their doctorate in the universities of Pavia, Rome and Western Scotland. We also maintained the collaboration with a Syrian student who received, partly also with our support, a doctorate at the University of Florence.
In 2017, two volumes appeared: one describes the system on which the excavation of Urkesh is based, while the other is the publication of the Tupkish palace. Three other volumes based on data from the Urkesh excavations are in an advanced state of edition.