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 2022

November 5, 2022
Interview to Giorgio Buccellati
and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

Archéologia 612

by Albane Le Conte

     Recently, Albane Le Conte inteviewed Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati for the journal Archéologia (no. 612, pp. 18-19).
     In this inteview, the Buccellati couple tells about the history of the discovery of Urkesh/Tell Mozan and the ongoing projects (awarded with the "2021 Balzan Prize") aiming at preserving this ancient site and disseminating culture and awarness particularly among the younger generations.
     The text of the interview (in French) can be downloaded at this link.


October 26, 2022
Lecture of Prof. G. Buccellati in Turin at the workshop
Wisdom Between East and West:
Mesopotamia, Greece and Beyond

University of Turin, Department of History,
Palazzo Nuovo

     On Wednesday, October 26, 2022, at 10:15 AM (CEST), Prof. Giorgio Buccellati will deliver a lecture within the workshop Wisdom Between East and West: Mesopotamia, Greece and Beyond, organized at the University of Turin (on October 26-27), at "Palazzo Nuovo".
     Prof. Buccellati's lecture is entitled An Epistemological Perspective on the Mesopotamian Wisdom Tradition.
     The flyer of the workshop is available at this link.
     The workshop can be attended even on remote, through WEBEX, by clicking on the link at the bottom-right of the flyer.


October 23, 2022
Dr. Hiba Qassar's paper at the "ASOR Annual Meeting 2022" (Boston, virtual venue)

     On Sunday, October 23, 2022, Dr. Hiba Qassar presents a paper at the "ASOR Annual Meeting 2022", held in Boston (virtual venue).
     Her contribution, entitled Urkesh One-on-one Program: Engage Youngsters for the Future of Archaeology, is delivered during the virtual session "Cultural Heritage: Preservation, Presentation, and Management" (1:00-2:00 PM, EDT), session chaired by Dr. Kiersten Neumann (Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago); here a description of this session.
     In her paper, Dr. Qassar presents the "Urkesh One-on-One" program as a hands-on experience in engaging youngsters with archaeology. She then draws on the outcomes of the program in building inclusive identities and mutual understanding among various cultures; fostering an international dialogue; protecting archaeological sites by giving the youngsters a way to identify themselves with these as their heritage.
     Registration to attend the virtual conference is required.
     The abstract of Dr. Qassar's paper can be read at this link.


October 17, 2022
A new paper by Dr. Hiba Qassar on
about the "One-on-One" project

     A paper by Dr. Hiba Qassar has been published today on the online journal
     In this paper, entitled Engaging young generation in cultural heritage, Dr. Qassar presents some important results of the ongoing Urkesh "One-on-One" program.
     The paper can be read, after subscription, at this link.
     Here you can have a look at the abstract of her paper.


October 7, 2022
The "Classic Music School" in Qamishli organises an exploration trip to Urkesh/Tell Mozan

     On Friday, October 7, 2022, the "Classic Music School" in Qamishli organised an exploration trip for thirty violin students to Tell Mozan, ancient Urkesh, under the supervision of maestro Muhammed Saleh Ismail.
     After visiting the archaeological site and learning about its history, the students played some pieces of music (a video of this performance is available at this link).
     Maestro Ismail says that he and his students work to create a blend and harmony between music and place, and they will return in late October to the archaeological site for further rehearsals.
     It is worth noting that the Music School had previously organised musical rehearsals and events in the ancient Urkesh/Tell Mozan on July 2, 2018, with the participation of its students.
     Further pictures of this event can be found on a separate page.


October 1, 2022
Interview to Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati on Ticino7

     During their visit to Lugano, Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati have been interviewed by Marco Horat for the local newspaper Ticino7 (October 1, 2022, p. 4, section "Cuoremente").
     In this interview, the Buccellati couple tell about the current situation in Syria, the history of the excavations at Urkesh/Tell Mozan, and the ongoing projects (awarded with the "2021 Balzan Prize") involving the preservation of the archaeological heritage of this ancient site.
     The full text of the interview (in Italian) can be downloaded here.


July-September 2022

September 24-26, 2022
Meeting in Graz (Austria) with Prof. Laerke Recht

     After the 15th Symposium of the Melammu Project taken in Graz (Austria), Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati had a further meeting (September 24-26) with Prof. Laerke Recht, about the current and future work on many sections of the and the Critique of Archeological Reason (CAR) websites.
     A detailed report of this second meeting can be found at CM website/reports.


September 19, 2022
UCLA Newsroom:
paper about G. Buccellati and M. Kelly-Buccellati,
Love Among the Ruins

     On September 19, 2022, Lisa Fung published in "UCLA Neswroom" a paper entitled Love Among the Ruins, entirely devoted to the life in archaeology of Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati.
     The paper tells about the human and professional experience of the Buccellati spouses, retracing the path towards their historical discovery of the ancient site of Urkesh, modern Tell Mozan, after their previous excavations in Terqa.
     Furthermore, the paper describes how the Buccellati couple is currently strongly engaged in preserving the heritage of this important ancient site, fostering the awareness of the local Syrian community in the conservation of the structures of Tell Mozan, a project which has been recently awarded the prestigious "2021 Balzan Prize", since this remarkable cooperation between scholars around the world and the local Syrian community led to preserve the ancient site against war and terrorism, showing how the knowledge of the past represents an important way to maintain peace.


September 17, 2022
15th Symposium of the Melammu Project, Graz (Austria)
September 21-24, 2022

University of Graz
Institute of Classics

     During the forthcoming "15th Symposium of the Melammu Project", entitled Clash of Civilizations? Sedentary and non sedentary populations (which will be held in Graz, next September 21-24, 2022, at the University of Graz, Institute of Classics), Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati will deliver two lectures.
     The symposium has been organized by Prof. Laerke Recht and other colleagues of the University of Graz.
     Prof. Marilyn Kelly Buccellati will be presenting on Thursday, September 22 (10:30-11:00 AM, CEST), a lecture entitled "Identity and alterity: Hurrian Urkesh facing the Akkadian imperial expansion".
     On Saturday, September 24 (09:30-11:30 AM, CEST), Prof. Giorgio Buccellati will offer a keynote lecture about "Polytheism vs. monotheism – A socio-epistemic culture clash".
     The flyer of the symposium is available at the following link.
     The full program of the symposium can be found here.
     You can attend the whole symposium online, at this link.
     A brief notice about these lectures can be found here.


September 5-12, 2022
Period of work in Beola (September 5-12)
Worshop "Beola 2"

     During the period September 5-12, 2022, a second workshop has been taken, under the supervision of Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, in Beola (after a first meeting, named "Beola 1", which took place last July 13-28, 2022; see related event).
     Many collaborators of the Urkesh/Tell Mozan and "4Banks" projects gathered in Beola to work together to different ongoing developments of the two aformentioned research projects. Other members of the team, together with Prof. Federico Buccellati, joined the meeting online, from remote.
     On September 8, the team had also the honor to welcome Prof. Peter Kuon (University of Salzburg), Vice Chairman of the "Balzan General Prize Committee", who joined the afternoon plenary session of the workshop together with his wife. Each member of the team had the unique opportunity to present to Prof. Kuon and his wife his/her current work to the "Cybernetica Mesopotamica Balzan Research Project 2022-2025", getting a fresh inspiration towards the future achievements of this project, which has recently awarded the prestigious "2021 Balzan Prize".
     The general program of this workshop can be downloaded at this link.
     A detailed report of this workshop can be found (in two versions, extended and brief) on the "Cybernetica Mesopotamica" website, at the following link (current access through password, only; to get the password, please write to the following e-mail address).


September 1, 2022
AVASA/IIMAS awarded the
"2022 Institutional Archaeological Heritage Prize"
(European Association of Archaeologists)

     The associations AVASA and IIMAS have been awarded the "2022 Institutional Archaeological Heritage Prize", from the European Association of Archaeologists, thanks to the project "Urkesh One-on-One".
     The text of the acceptance speech, read by Dr. Arwa Kharobi, can be downloaded at this link.
     Further information can be found on a dedicated page.


July 13-28, 2022
Period of work in Beola (July 13-28)
Workshop "Beola 1"

     During July 13-28, 2022, an intensive period of work gathered together in Beola many people involved in different aspects of the project related to the updating of the "Urkesh Global Record" (UGR), and many other projects regarding the Urkesh website (projects recently awarded the prestigious "2021 Balzan Prize").
     Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati (first and second from left in this picture taken in Crego, nearby Beola) led a small team of collaborators composed of Bernardo Forni (webmaster, third from left in the picture), Jessica Scaciga (working on pottery, fourth from left in the picture), James L. Walker (UGR programmer, second from right in the picture), Lorenzo Crescioli (UGR programmer, first from right in the picture), and Marco De Pietri (collaborator to the updating of the Urkesh website, not in this picture).


July 19, 2022
Updating about the "BALZAN Prize"

     After the official ceremony for the assignment of the "2021 Balzan Prize" to Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, the "International Balzan Prize Foundation" has uploaded on its website an entire page describing the profiles of the two winners, along with a bio-bibliography of the two scholars, the video of their acceptance speech, and the recording of their contribution (entitled "Cybernetica Mesopotamica. The digital hermeneutics of archaeology") to the interdisciplinary forum taken in Bern the day before the awards ceremony.


July 16, 2022
Press review section about the "2021 BALZAN Prize"

     A new section under the page Media has been created to display a press review collecting all the paper and online articles published in different newspaper and related to the "2021 Balzan Prize". This press review will be constantly kept updated also in the future.


July 1, 2022
BALZAN Prize: awards ceremony of the
"2021 Balzan Prize"

Bern, Switzerland ("Palazzo Federale, Sala del Consiglio nazionale")
and online live streaming; starting hour: 5:00 PM (CEST)

     Friday, July 1, 2022: the official awards ceremony for the assignment of the "2021 Balzan Prize", will be held in Bern (Switzerland), at the "Palazzo Federale", in the "Sala del Consiglio nazionale".
     During this ceremony, the winners of the prestigious prize will be officially awarded: Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati ("Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East"); Alessandra Buonanno and Thibault Damour ("Gravitation: Physical and Astrophysical Aspects"); Saul Friedländer ("Holocaust and Genocide Studies"); Jeffrey Gordon ("Microbiome in Health and Disease").
     The event, starting from 5:00 PM (CEST), will be live-streamed at this link:


April-June 2022

June 30, 2022
BALZAN Prize: interdisciplinary forum with the winners of the "2021 Balzan Prize"
University of Bern (Switzerland) and online live streaming;
starting hour: 1:30 PM (CEST)

     Thursday, June 30, 2022: the day before the official award ceremony for the assignment of the "2021 Balzan Prize", an interdisciplinary forum will be held at the University of Bern (Switzerland).
     The forum will involve the participation of the winners of the prestigious prize: Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati; Alessandra Buonanno and Thibault Damour; Saul Friedländer; Jeffrey Gordon.
     The event, starting from 1:30 PM (CEST), will be live-streamed at this link:


June 29, 2022
Interview to Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati on "Avvenire"

     On the occasion of the forthcoming awards ceremony of the "2021 Balzan Prize", an interview to Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati has been published by Gianni Santamaria on the Italian newspaper "Avvenire" (June 29, 2022, p. 22).
     In the interview, the Buccellati spouses discuss about their ongoing projects aiming at preserving and evaluating the ancient Syrian history and archaeology, strengthening the relationship and mutual cooperation with the local population living nearby the ancient city of Urkesh/Tell Mozan. This important work achieved an important goal: to increase the awareness of local people towards their own past and culture.
     The Italian text of the interview (online at this link) can be downloaded here; an English translation is also available in PDF.


June 28, 2022
Work in progress for the UGR at the UCLA Lab

     Mary Stancavage (IIMAS Research Associate) has been working on A12, the ābi, for the UGR (Urkesh Global Record). Mary spent two days with James L. Walker (IIMAS and AVASA Research Associate), UGR expert, learning all the 'secrets' of writing and running programs. The work is still 'in progress' but can be found on the Urkesh website at this link.

James Walker and Mary Stancavage working on the UGR
The Mesopotamian Lab at UCLA where all the excavation materials are kept The Mesopotamian Lab at UCLA where all the excavation materials are kept

June 26-27, 2022
Surface finds documentation at Mozan

     Surface finds are still recovered at Tell Mozan and they are carefully collected, recorded, and documented by a small team of local people under the direction of Amer Ahmad.
     This is a further evidence of the engagement of local population in taking care of their own heritage and past, embedded in these ancient, but still "living" objects.
     These operations also allow to continue studying the materials recovered at Mozan even at a distance, in the frame of the UGR ("Urkesh Global Record") project.
     A specific section on the Urkesh website has been devoted to collect pictures and information about these objects: you can access this page from the "Mozan Sitewide" mainpage, under the section "MZ constituents", on the right-hand side on this page (or even directly through this direct link.

ZG626_Surface_2 ZG626_Surface_3

June 24, 2022
Participation of the "Corinth School of Music" to the "One-on-One" project

     The "Corinth School of Music" has recently participated to the "One-on-One" project.
     On the website of this schools it has been published a brief notice (in Greek) about this event.
     A PDF version of this notice, accompanied by its English translation, can be downloaded at this link.


June 22-23, 2022
Dr. Samer Abdel Ghafour and the PROTECT-HERITAGE at TEFAF, in Maastricht

     On June 22-23, Dr. Samer Abdel Ghafour participated, along with other members of the PROTECT-HERITAGE consortium, at Provenence Vetting, hold at the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair), the biggest art fair on the world happening in Maastricht (June 24-30, 2022).
     The Dutch Art Crime unit carried out some tasks for PROTECT-HERITAGE by collecting all provenance information of the antiquities that came out of the MENA ("Middle East and North Africa") region. This data will be used for research and as study material for workshops and trainings that the consortium will implement later in the framework of the project to the benefit of Lebanese Law Enforcement Agencies.
     PROTECT-HERITAGE is an Internal Security Fund project funded by the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs – European Commission. The objective of this project is to strengthen LEAs ("Law Enforcement Agencies") cooperation between the EU and Lebanon, in order to prevent the entry of looted cultural property into the EU customs territory. The project as a strong capacity-building component towards different Lebanese beneficiaries and looks to set up strong cooperation activities that will surpass the project’s lifetime.
     A notice of this event has been also posted on the website of the PROTECT-HERITAGE.


June 20, 2022
Interview to Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati
on "News 24 VCO"

     On June 20, Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati have granted an interview to "News 24 VCO", a local online newspaper, after the assignment of the international BALZAN Prize.
     The two archaeologists told about the recent developments of the many projects related to the ancient site of Urkesh/Tell Mozan, presenting the activities undertaken by the team in the fields of conservation, promotion of local awareness for the ancient site, interconnection between Italian and Syrian students, and education, a powerful way to fight against any kind of violence and extremism.
     A particular focus has been put on the new possibilities to disseminate knowledge about ancient Mesopotamian and Syrian culture in our modern time, including the implementation of new digital technologies (in collaboration with the "Università Cattolica" and the "Politecnico" of Milan) to build up a new way to spread information about many aspects of ancient Near Eastern and biblical culture, developing a structural analysis within a digital discourse carried on through the medium of different websites all connected and interrelated in the 4Banks project.
     During the interview, it has been also stressed the particular link between the two archaeologists and the local community of Beola, the Italian village (near to Domodossola) where the two scholars currently live.
     The Italian text of the inteview is available online and a PDF version with the English translation can be downloaded at this link.


May 26, 2022
Presentation by Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati
and Giorgio Buccellati at the
primary school "Innocenzo IX"
in Baceno (Verbania, Italy)

     Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati and Giorgio Buccellati gave a presentation about the Urkesh excavations to the children of the 4th and 5th grade at the grammar school "Innocenzo IX" in Baceno (VB), Italy.
     The teachers, Sara Prina and Silvana Lunghi, hosted the event.
     The presentation was about a few salient aspects of the excavations (especially the ābi and the sealings with the legends of Uqnitum). It also included the two recent videos of the violin players at Mozan, which elicited much interest because all the children in the two classes also play an instrument.
     There followed almost an hour of questions by the pupils who were extremely interested in all aspects of the excavation.


May 25, 2022
Volume Urkesh/Mozan Studies 7 (UMS 7)
available online

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

     The volume by Dr. Matteo Delle Donne (UNIOR), Agricoltura, alimentazione e paleoambiente della Jazira siriana tra IV e III mill. a.C. – Le evidenze da Tell Mozan, Napoli: UniorPress (2018), series UMS 7, is now available online at this link.
     Further information about this volume of the series Urkesh/Mozan Studies can be found on the website of Urkesh/Tell Mozan, in sections Books and UMS 7.
     The book is downloadable in PDF.


May 18, 2022
Digging a new well at Mozan (OJ2)

     On April 9, 2022, Amer Ahmad informed us that the village of Mozan wanted to dig a well near the school and were asked for permission to do so.
     Considering everything else that is happening at other sites in Syria, this was very significant, in that it showed the degree of awareness and respect for the archaeological dimension of the site – a strong validation of the program of conservation and education we have developed over the years.
     We asked for details about the location and in the light of other test excavations we had done in that general area (in particular unit OJ1) we felt it was possible to proceed, provided Amer were present to supervise the work and record it.
     So on April 19, 2022, we gave a positive recommendation to the DGAM, which was accepted. Accordingly we assigned the label OJ2 to this excavation unit, and work was carried out as planned.
     As it turned out, the very small area opened was completely void of cultural remains, and Amer Ahmad will write a brief report for the Urkesh website.


May 11-16, 2022
Meeting in Beola

     On May 11-16, 2022, a meeting was held in Beola (Italy) to discuss further developments and implementation of the Cybernetica Mesopotamica (related to the Balzan Prize), the Urkesh Global Record
(UGR), the Urkesh website, and the 4banks Project.
     The meeting, led by Prof. Dr. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Dr. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, involved the participation of Dr. Yasmine Mahmoud (AVASA/IIMAS), Bernardo Forni (webmaster), and Dr. Marco De Pietri (AVASA/IIMAS).


May 4-5, 2022
Humanism and Digitization:
Theory and Practical Achievements

Congress at the "Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore"

Largo A. Gemelli 1, Milano (Italy)
Wednesday: Aula Pio IX, 9:30 AM (CEST)
Thursday: Aula G. 153, 9:30 AM (CEST)
Registration to participate in presence (mail:
Online (Teams)

     May 4-5, 2022: the "Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore" in Milano (Italy) will host a congress entitled Humanism and Digitization: Theory and Practical Achievements, focused on a dialogue between scholars of different fields discussing about the relationship between "humanism" and "digitization", considering digital humanism under a philosophical, archaeological, historical, and technological perspective.
     On the second day (Thursday, May 5), the focus will concentrate on the discussion of practical applications of technology and digitality to archaeology, moving from a round table on Giorgio Buccellati's volume A Critique of Archaeological Reason (Cambridge University Press 2017).
     The congress is organized by Prof. Massimo Marassi and Prof. Nicoletta Scotti Muth (UNICATT - Department of Philosophy).
     The flyer of the congress can be downloaded here.


April 13, 2022
Middle Schools Project: Syria and the USA

     April 13, 2022: Dott.ssa Hiba Qassar, sent us a detailed report about the activities carried out in July-August 2021 within the project"Middle schools: learning from the younger ones...".
     Archaeology deals with a distant past. And yet, today archaeology offers us, in Syria as elsewhere, a promise for a young future.
     A young future, because young people are at the center of those dynamics which let modern society look ahead.
     A young future, because archaeology participates in it with a new vigor. It is archaeology as such that rediscovers its own youth.
     The PDF of the report can be downloaded here.


January-March 2022

March 26, 2022
At the Roots of Tomorrow:
elementary students from Syria meet their peers from USA

     March 26, 2022: news from Dr. Hiba Qassar: "On Saturday 26th of March, we organized a meeting between the American students from Palm Springs (fourth grade) and the Syrian students from Qamishli (sixth grade). The meeting started with a presentation by the American students in which they talked about their culture in general and what does it mean to them to be American. Then, the Syrian students presented the history of Urkesh. After that, Syrian and American participants exchanged questions regarding each other's culture, life, interests, etc. The meeting was full of passion and curiosity with questions about each country and participants enjoyed presenting their culture using music and other artistic forms.
     Further information about this event can be found here.
     For a wider description of this project, see at this link.


March 23, 2022
Visit and music in Tell Mozan

     March 23, 2022: a group on youngs from local schools involved in the "One-on-One" program, led by Amer Ahmad, visits Urkesh/Tell Mozan and fills the ancient site with music!
     A video of a young Syrian violinist playing inside the ābi is available here; a second performance of an emsemble of youngs performing on the (further information) of Urkesh can be viewed at this link.
     A PDF (by Dr. Hiba Qassar) describing the visit can be downloaded here (NB: the pictures referred to in this document are displayed at this link.
     Further pictures of the visit can be retrieved here.


March 7, 2022
Dr. Hiba Qassar's lecture
"Whose heritage is this?
The social role of archaeological patrimony in Syria".

Vorderasiatisches Museum SMB PK,
London Centre for the Ancient Near East (LCANE),
organized by Dr. Pınar Durgun and Dr. Yaǧmur Heffron.
Online event on ZOOM: link for registration

     March 7, 2022 (Monday, UTC+01 7:00 PM): lecture, within the series Museums and Ancient Western Asia, Perspectives from the Middle East (Vorderasiatisches Museum SMB PK – London Centre for the Ancient Near East, LCANE), by Dr. Hiba Qassar, entitled "Whose heritage is this? The social role of archaeological patrimony in Syria".
     Through the seminar, Dr. Qassar will talk about the relationship between Syrians and archaeological patrimony. She will also focus on the importance of considering locals as main stakeholders in archaeological knowledge, bringing Urkesh as an example, in order to activate the social role of this patrimony. And finally, will bring the Urkesh "One-on-one" project as a concrete example in engaging youngsters in Syria in the archaeological heritage and its impact in creating a sense of ownership towards this heritage.


March 6, 2022
Marwan Midani and his son Dan
visited the Buccellatis in Los Angeles

     On March 6, 2022, Marwan Midani and his son Dan visited the Buccellatis in Los Angeles, and together they talked at length about our projects currently underway in Syria, especially in light of the awarding of the Balzan Prize. Marwan has been close to our projects since the 80es when he was a student in Los Angeles, and then throughout his tenure in Syria as the CEO and Director of Business Development of Souria Holding. He still follows our work with the greatest of interests.


March 2, 2022
Amer Ahmad's
recent scientific research in Budapest


     Amer Ahmad has recently conducted a period of research (02/03/2022-02/10/2022) in Budapest (Hungary) to further develop his studies (within his MA program at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest) on unit A6 (Palace AP) of the archaeological site of Urkesh/Tell Mozan.
     A preliminary report of this unit has been published in UMS 6 (see pp. 49-50 and p. 65).
     A description of his research, entitled The kitchen of the royal palace of Tupkish at Urkesh (sector D): stratigraphy, typology and conservation, can be found at this link.


February 23, 2022
Dr. Samer Abdel Ghafour's talk
"Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities in the Middle East and North Africa. Understanding the Minds and Motives of Looters, Traffickers and Dealers and Other Supply Chain Actors".
Institutum Romanum Finlandiae in Rome and
The American University in Rome.

     On February 23, 2022, the Finnish Institute in Rome organised a lecture, within the Circolo Gianicolense research seminar, entitled "Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities in the Middle East and North Africa. Understanding the Minds and Motives of Looters, Traffickers and Dealers and Other Supply Chain Actors", delivered by Dr. Samer Abdel Ghafour.
     Dr. Abdel Ghafour presented cases on previous and recent looting in several countries in the MENA regions, where archaeological artefacts moved in the hands of looters, traffickers, dealers, art galleries, auction houses, and museums. An informative and rich discussion with the attendees followed the talk.


February 21, 2022
"Urkesh la città di 4500 anni fa"
Podcast on Radio24/"Darwin, l'evoluzione della scienza"
Interview, in Italian, to Prof. Giorgio Buccellati
and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati,
by Federico Pedrocchi

     On February 21, 2022, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati granted an interview to the radio broadcast "Darwin, l'evoluzione della scienza", on Radio24 (interviewer: Federico Pedrocchi).
     Presentation of the interview: "Urkesh is a 4500-year-old Hurrian city. The remains of this primitive civilization were discovered in northeastern Syria by a couple of archaeologists, Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati. The International Balzan Foundation awarded the two archaeologists from the University of California Los Angeles the Prize for the Art and Archeology of the Ancient Near East. In 'Darwin' they tell us all the details of the discovery and some curiosities about how Agatha Christie inspired them".
     The podcast with the interview is available at this link.


February 4, 2022
International Balzan Prize

     Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati have been awarded the "International Balzan Prize", for their achievements in the study of Hurrian culture and for highlighting its importance as the foundation of a great urban civilization, among the most flourishing in the ancient Near East in the third millennium BCE; for promoting a digital approach to the study of archaeology; for enhancing theoretical reflection on the nature of this discipline.

     Here below you can download:


January 24, 2022
Snow on Tell Mozan

     Unusual images come from Tell Mozan. Our workers on the site have written to inform us about an unusual snowfall, which has whitewashed the entire area around the site.
     As you can see from the photos, the snow has covered the village of Mozan as well as the archaeological site of Urkesh. The pictures also show how, once again, our system of protection of the ancient structures has proved effective, protecting the walls of the ancient buildings.

ZG124_2 ZG124_3

September-December 2021

December 9, 2021
Yara Moualla
Denfence of PhD Dissertation
Mobilising Syrian Cultural Heritage:
making change towards social and cultural inclusion and integration.
A Meta-Frame Analysis of Two Case Studies:
The Case of Mozan, Syria: 2010-2016.
The Case of Über den Tellerrand, Germany: 2016-2018.

     On December 9, 2021, Dr. Yara Moualla, member of the IIMAS team, defended her PhD Dissertation entitled "Mobilising Syrian Cultural Heritage: making change towards social and cultural inclusion and integration. A Meta-Frame Analysis of Two Case Studies: The Case of Mozan, Syria: 2010-2016. The Case of Über den Tellerrand, Germany: 2016-2018".
     An abstract of her PhD Dissertation can be found here.
     A biographical profile of Dr. Yara Moualla is available at this link.


December 2-3, 2021
"ILUCIDARE Playground:
Heritage Voices Out!".

International conference
Comet Meetings Louise, Place Stéphanie 20, 1050 Brussels
and online

     On December 2-3, 2021, an international conference entitled ILUCIDARE Playground: Heritage Voices Out! will take place at Brussels; Dr. Hiba Qassar will present in this venue a contribution on the topic of "Archaeology for a young future - ILUCIDARE Special Prize International relations winner 2020", on December 3, 2021, at 11.30 AM (CEST); her talk will be focused on the recent results of the "One-on-One" project, dealing with the heritage conservation of the ancient site of Urkesh and with the involvement of the local, young community of Tell Mozan in the process of knowledge and conservation of its historical and archaeological heritage.
     The flyer of the conference is available here.
     The conference will be in presence, but also a participation on remote will be possible by registering at the following link.


November 23-26, 2021
"EMPOWER 2021":
Reach Out to Asia (ROTA),
Education Above All (EAA) Foundation,
EMPOWER 2021 Youth Conference
Young Global Citizens Co-Create Culture

International conference
Doha, Qatar (and online)

     On November 23-26, 2021, an international conference entitled EMPOWER 2021: Young Global Citizens Co-Create Culture was organized in Doha (with online streaming), aiming at building awareness, knowledge, and skills related to global citizenship and mobilise youth as agents of positive change to take action in their communities.
Dr. Hiba Qassar participated in the conference on November 24, 2021, with the panel "Cultural Heritage Through the Lens of Global Citizenship", linked to the "One-on-One" project.
     A short report of Dr. Qassar's panel can be downloaded here.
     The program of the conference can be found here.



November 16, 2021
"A Multi-Linear Digital Discourse in Theory and Practice:
The Urkesh Global Record and the Four Banks Project".

Conference and round table
Milano, Politecnico
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 26

     On November 16, 2021 the Politecnico of Milano (Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 26) will hold a conference in the form of round table entitled "A Multi-Linear Digital Discourse in Theory and Practice: The Urkesh Global Record and the Four Banks Project", focusing on the new possibilities offered by a systematic and digital publication of the archaeological record (Urkesh Global Record) of the excavations at Urkesh/Tell Mozan, along with the digital publication of material included in the vademecum to the volumes pertaining to the "4Banks" project.
     The flyer of the conference can be downloaded here.
     The conference will be in presence, but a virtual participation will be allowed through Zoom.


Novembre 15, 2021
"Coronomics and Cultural Heritage
in the Middle East".

International congress
Mantova, Politecnico di Milano – Polo Territoriale di Mantova
Piazza d'Arco, 3

     On November 15, 2021 the Politecnico di Milano – Polo Territoriale di Mantova (Piazza d'Arco, 3) will host an international congress entitled "Coronomics and Cultural Heritage in the Middle East", discussing about the preservation of cultural heritage in the time of COVID-19.
     The flyer of the congress, reporting also a brief abstract, can be found here.
     The congress will be in presence, but a participation from remote is granted through Zoom.
     Two parallel sections, in the form of seminar, will be focusing on the topics of "Archaeological Excavation" (LAB 1: Zoom 1) and "From Identity to Jobs (LAB 2: Zoom 2).


October 24, 2021
"Di esto en clase, pero que lo cuente Hiro es más real".
Article about the "One-on-One" project.
Interview to Dr. Hiba Qassar.

Alfa&Omega, section Fe y vida,
by María Martínez López

     On October 24, 2021 Dr. Hiba Qassar granted an interview to the journal Alfa&Omega (section Fe y vida) about the ongoing "One-on-One" project.
     The article (in Spanish) can be read online at this link.
     A PDF of the interview (in Spanish) can be downloaded here.


October 15, 2021
"ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2020 for
'Archaeology for a young future'".

Report by Hiba Qassar

     Recently, Dr. Hiba Qassar has sent the first report on the Urkesh activities related to the project "Archaeology for a young future", which won the "ILUCIDARE Special Prize 2020 for excellence in Heritage-led International Relations".
     The English text of the report can be downloaded here.


October 12, 2021
"Giorgio Buccellati: 'Al Daesh, como a los talibanes, hay que combatirlos con las ideas y la arqueología es útil'".
Inteview to Prof. Giorgio Buccellati
and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

by Mónica Arrizabalaga,
ABC, October 12, 2021, online

     On October 12, 2021, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati granted an interview to the electronic journal ABC (October 12, 2021, "Cultura"), following the conference "A multi-linear digital discourse in theory and practice. An example concerning archaeology and Mesopotamian and Biblical religion", delivered on September 22, 2021 at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso, Madrid, during the course La "Bibbia" in una prospettiva mesopotamica. Storia, storiografia, ermeneutica, held at the same University on September 20-24, 2021.
     The Spanish text of the whole interview is available at this link; the English translation of the same interview can be downloaded here.


September 30, 2021
"Con la arqueología, la Biblia no resulta pura retórica".
Inteview to Prof. Giorgio Buccellati
and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

by María Martínez López,
Alfa&Omega, September 30-October 6, 2021, p. 22 (Culture)

     On September 30, 2021, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati granted an interview to the journal Alfa&Omega (September 30-October 6, 2021, p. 22, section "Cultura"), following the conference "A multi-linear digital discourse in theory and practice. An example concerning archaeology and Mesopotamian and Biblical religion", delivered on September 22, 2021 at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso, Madrid, during the course La "Bibbia" in una prospettiva mesopotamica. Storia, storiografia, ermeneutica, held at the same University on September 20-24, 2021.
     The Spanish text of the whole interview is available at this link; the English translation of the same interview can be downloaded here.


September 24, 2021
Graph representation and network analysis as a comparative tool: a case study in comparative religion
3:22-3:45 PM (Krasnoyarsk time, GMT+7) = 10:22-10:45 AM (CEST),
EADH2021 conference,
Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk,
Russia, September 21-25, 2021

     On September 24, 2021 (Friday), Dr. Jonah Lynch (IIMAS Research Associate and PhD student at University of Pavia, Italy) will present a fascinating contribution in the context of the European Association for Digital Humanities (EADH) 2021 Conference; the title of his talk is "Graph representation and network analysis as a comparative tool: a case study in comparative religion" (session Long and Short Papers: Content Analysis/Visualization): a new digital approach in investigating, analyzing, and visually displaying patterns of religion (focusing on Israel and Mesopotamia) in a digital and structural comparative view.
     The program of the conference is available online.
     A video ("Structural comparison of religion") describing Dr. Lynch's ongoing research can be found on his YouTube personal channel.


September 22, 2021
A multi-linear digital discourse in theory and practice. An example concerning archaeology and Mesopotamian and Biblical religion
6:30 PM, Sala de Grados, Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso,
c/ Jerte, 10 - 28005 Madrid (Spain)

     On September 22, 2021 (Wednesday), Prof. Giorgio Buccellati (together with Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati) will deliver a lecture on new approaches on investigating Mesopotamian and biblical religion. The central idea is to show how a website can serve a purpose that goes beyond the standard of providing information in the form of databases. It is the notion of "digital discourse", that makes the most of the potential of the digital medium by implementing a multi-linear narrative. The approach (proposed by G. Buccellati in A Critique of Archaeological Reason, Cambridge 2017, with companion CAR website) will be exemplified through three websites to be illustrated in the first part of the round table. Respondents will then consider the proposal from three different points of view.
      The flyer of the conference is available online and the event can be followed through an online streaming.
     An interview to Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, granted after this conference, can be read at the following link.


September 20-24, 2021
Curso para Profesores y Doctorandos
La "Bibbia" in una prospettiva mesopotamica.
Storia, storiografia, ermeneutica.

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Buccellati
Sala de Claustros, Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso,
c/ Jerte, 10 - 28005 Madrid (Spagna)

     On September 20-24, 2021, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati will teach a course at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso, Madrid (Spain) focusing on epistemological, historical, and hermeneutical aspects of the biblical texts. The course is structured in five steps, facing, after an introduction (session 1), aspects of Mesopotamian history (session 2) and problems of biblical epistemology (sessions 3-4), reaching a final conclusion in the last class (session 5).
     A flyer presenting the topics of this course can be downloaded here.
     An interview to Prof. Giorgio Buccellati and Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, granted at the end of this course, can be read at the following link.


September 15, 2021
Yasmine Mahmoud
Denfence of PhD Dissertation
Anthropomorphic figurines, statuettes and jewelry from Urkesh.
An archaeological and historical study.

University of Pavia (Italy)
PhD in History (Pre-Classical Ancient Near-East)
33rd cycle (a.a. 2017/2018)

     On September 15, 2021, Dr. Yasmine Mahmoud defended her PhD Dissertation entitled "Anthropomorphic figurines, statuettes and jewelry from Urkesh. An archaeological and historical study". Her PhD research was achieved within the PhD in History (Pre-Classical Ancient Near-East), 33rd cycle (a.a. 2017/2018).
     An abstract of her PhD Dissertation, including a ToC, can be found here.


September 7, 2021
The Urkesh Global Record (UGR):
Overview & Zoom on the Bioanthropological Data

27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists
Widening Horizons
Kiel, September 6-11, 2021

     On September 7, 2021, a team of the Urkesh/Tell Mozan expedition (namely, Dr. Arwa Kharobi, Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati, and Dr. Federico Buccellati) presented a paper (entitled "The Urkesh Global Record (UGR): Overview & Zoom on the Bioanthropological Data") at the "27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists" (Widening Horizons), held in Kiel, during September 6-11, 2021.
     The PDF of the presentation is available at this link.


April-June 2021

June 6, 2021
Immersive Live Tour.
Visit the Ancient City of Urkesh in the Syrian Jezirah

     On Sunday June 6, 2021, the Urkesh/Tell Mozan team offered an online immersive tour to the site of Urkesh/Tell Mozan. The webinar was organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and consisted of 45 minutes actual visit to the excavations, in real-time, with a local archaeologist, Amer Ahmad, walking virtual visitors through the major monuments as they have been preserved during these ten years of war.
     Link to the video on the Urkesh You Tube channel.
     Another better quality and edited version of the same video is available at this link.


May 12, 2021
Urkesh e l'Associazione "Rondine Cittadella della Pace"

     From November, 5 to December 4, 2020, the Association Rondine Cittadella della Pace implemented the project “Preserving Cultural Heritage”, that brought together 20 experts in cultural heritage and related professions from war-affected communities to train them in the basics of cultural heritage conservation, including during times of conflict and as a part of the conflict management process.
     Many members of the Tell Mozan/Urkesh archaeological project took part to a seminar on November, 27 which was entitled "Urkesh beyond Urkesh: the empowerment of cultural heritage during a conflict". For a description of this event, including a video-reportage of the entire initiative, look at this link.


April 21, 2021
A new article about the School Project

     Eleni Gizas, our Greek colleague in Corinth who has been collaborating with AVASA and the Schools Project since 2019, wrote an article recently published in the Newsletter of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. In this text, Eleni describes her experience, first with the "Antonio Rosmini" High School in Domodossola and then with the new project "One-on-one".
     The article is now also available as a PDF file: see our "In the Media" page of the website.


January-March 2021

March 22, 2021
German journalists visiting Urkesh

     Two German journalists, visiting Syria for humanitarian purposes and to witness the current condition of the country, stopped today in Tell Mozan to visit the archaeological site, guided by Amer Ahmed.
     When they arrived in the region, their primary interest was not archaeology - but once they got in touch with Amer and arrived in Urkesh, they had to change their minds: they visited the whole area of the site with great interest, asking many questions about the activities which are still ongoing through the support of AVASA, IIMAS and the Tell Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project and especially expressing great admiration for the state of preservation of the ancient ruins.


March 18, 2021
A new forthcoming online talk: how to participate

     The Tell Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project will participate in the digital event "Heritage: Beyond Walls", on 24 March at 5 pm CET. This is a unique project offered to Syrian university students to help break down their isolation, encourage sharing and discussion, and raise awareness of how cultural heritage can be a resource in recovery and development processes.
     The initiative is promoted by the Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture, a research foundation dedicated to research and training in the field of cultural heritage, creativity and innovation.
     Participation is open to anyone interested: to obtain the link to attend to the talk, please write to and


March 12, 2021
The Schools Project meets experts from around the world thanks to Europa Nostra

     Today we participated in the first phase of the "Champions Programme" organised by Europa Nostra, as winners of the ILUCIDARE 2020 Special Prize for heritage-led International Relations. Together with members and experts connected from all over the world, we discussed the challenges and strengths of our Schools Project, to grow our activities and improve for the future!
     Keep following our website, to be informed about the results of this first fruitful meeting....


February 27, 2021
The video of the latest conference on Urkesh now available online

     The video of the presentation given on February 24, entitled "Cultural Heritage? A Personal-Tale from Tell Mozan in Syria" and which featured project members connected from the United States, Italy, and Syria, is now entirely available online.
     The conference can be accessed on the YouTube channel of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, at this link.


February 22, 2021
"Cultural Heritage? A Personal-Tale
from Tell Mozan in Syria"

     Next Wednesday, February 24, there will be a new online conference on Urkesh: Professors Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati will present "Cultural Heritage? A Personal-Tale from Tell Mozan in Syria", on the occasion of the "Pizza talks" organized by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology of the University of California, Los Angeles.
     A description of the event and the registration form to obtain the link to attend the conference are available at this link.


February 11, 2021
A new publication on Urkesh
now available on our website

     A recently published article, written by Arwa Kharobi, is now available in the "Articles" section of our website.
     The text, written in French, describes in detail for the first time the necropolis located in the upper town of Urkesh, where ca. a hundred tombs dating back to the beginning of the second millennium BC have been excavated. The archaeo-anthropological study carried out on this area sheds light on the funerary practices of this Mesopotamian region, also providing a complete picture of funerary concepts and the relationship with death in ancient Urkesh.


January 14, 2021
"To Sift or Not to Sift.." at Urkesh

     A new paper, written by Marilyn Kelly Buccellati and now available on our website, discusses the importance of sifting the ground on an archaeological dig, to ensure that every small artefact can be correctly recognised, collected and analysed. The specific case-study described in this text is that of the valuable but fragile seal impressions found at Urkesh.
     When the archaeological expedition was still operational in the field at Tell Mozan, an experiment was carried out in which all the soil of a well defined area was firstly treated according to the usual excavation methods, and then carefully sifted in order to verify what had been lost 'with the naked eye'.


October-December 2020

December 05, 2020
"Volume of Studies Honors Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati"
Paper by Roz Salzman on Backdirt 2020 (December), pp. 9-11

     A new paper by Roz Salzman entitled "Volume of Studies Honors Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati" has been published on Backdirt 2020 (December), pp. 9-11.
     The paper presents the publication of the volume in honor of Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati (SANEM 3); a short summary of the paper is available on
     The PDF of the paper can be found here.


December 01, 2020
"Considering Variation in Ancient Architecture: A Study in Architectural Energetics"

     Today Federico Buccellati, Director of the Tell Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project, presents an important conference on Urkesh, as part of the seminar series organized by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
      In this presentation, entitled "Considering Variation in Ancient Architecture: A Study in Architectural Energetics", Federico Buccellati will analyze the Royal Palace of Urkesh from an innovative and extremely significant perspective from an archaeological, economic and social point of view: a detailed abstract is available at this link.
     To follow the conference via Zoom simply click on the link available at the official webpage of the event.


November 11, 2020
"Urkesh beyond Urkesh: Community and Digitality"

     Today Profs. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati and Giorgio Buccellati, with the participation of many other collaborators of AVASA and of the Tell Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project, have given a virtual lecture on the past, present and future of Urkesh.
     This event, which was part of the Bulletin of Near Eastern Excavations and Research organized by the Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies (CAMNES) in Florence, has shown the multifaceted aspects of the community archaeology which are currently ongoing across the world, all focusing on the archaeological site of Urkesh. Thanks to the effort of our archaeologist in the field, the guard of the site and two more collaborators in situ, it has even been possible to arrange a "live tour" on the monumental staircase (further information) and the storage room of the Expedition House, in Tell Mozan.
     The lecture is now fully available on the organizer's Youtube channel, at this link.


November 10, 2020
"Archaeology for a young future" wins
the ILUCIDARE Special Prize 2020
for excellence in Heritage-led International Relations

     During the virtual European Heritage Awards Ceremony which took place yesterday, and which was followed by more than one thousand people via streaming across Europe and beyond, Mariya Gabriel (European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth) awarded the ILUCIDARE Special Prize 2020 for excellence in Heritage-led International Relations to our School Project.
     In awarding the prize, the Jury emphasised: "Through a shared vision of cultural heritage, Archaeology for a Young Future allows children, school staff and communities in Italy and Syria to forge bonds in a spirit of mutual understanding, respect and friendship. Its strong educational component and trans-generational impact can contribute to maintaining and improving relations between the two communities in the long-run. This bottom-up, easily replicable project demonstrates that heritage-led international relations can happen among people and communities on the ground, and are not exclusive of governments or international organisations". Our project has been identified as one of the "best practice examples for the heritage community as well as an inspiration for the broader worlds of innovation, entrepreneurship and international cooperation".
     Our heartfelt thanks go to all the educators, teachers and students who have contributed to the success of this project ever since its beginning in 2017 and in its development. Our activities continue today - now with even more enthusiasm and energy!


November 6, 2020
Award Ceremony for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes (Europa Nostra)

     The wait is almost over: the winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes will be unveiled during the European Heritage Awards Ceremony to be held entirely online on November 10 2020 (17:00 CET).
     This virtual event, totally free of charge, is open to anyone who wants to participate to it - but registration is mandatory. In order to participate, personal contacts should be entered in the official Europa Nostra webpage: we invite you to do so, and to take part at this event that is so important for AVASA!


October 30, 2020
Significant updates on the AVASA website

     Starting from today, our website offers you new important webpages, that describe the earliest phases of our new project for the youngsters: Urkesh "One-on-One".
     At this page you can now find a detailed description of this educational program, written by Hiba Qassar, who has also prepared some reports on the phases 0 and 1 of the project. Updates and further developments will be online soon!


October 8, 2020
“The exploitation of plants at Tell Mozan (NE Syria) in 4th-3rd mill. BC”

     On 20 July 2020, the scientific results of the research on the archaeobotanical remains from Urkesh/Tell Mozan, carried out by Matteo Delle Donne (researcher at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and ISMEO - Associazione Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l’Oriente) have been presented at “The International Virtual Conference on Archaeology of Iran and Adjacent Regions”, organized by the Archaeological Sciences Research Centre, University of Sistan and Baluchhestan, Zahedan, Iran (20-21 July 2020).
     The paper entitled “The exploitation of plants at Tell Mozan (NE Syria) in 4th-3rd mill. BC” aimed at discussing how the results of the archaeobotanical studies at Tell Mozan/Urkesh shed new light on the ancient agriculture and food habits and, in particular, how they can contribute to the analysis of the relationship between local communities and the surrounding environment in the past.


July-September 2020

September 22, 2020
Mozan/Urkesh Prize for Best Heritage Conservation Paper

     We are pleased to announce the call for the “Mozan/Urkesh Prize for Best Heritage Conservation Paper”.
     The prize is open to undergraduate students in the first and second year who are enrolled at Syrian universities and institutes from different disciplines: archaeology, history, literature, engineering, media, and tourism.
     The call for papers is available at this page.


September 1, 2020
Fire at Mozan

     Today we have been informed that a fire raged yesterday in Mozan, coming from the nearby village of Umm-al-Rabia.
     The archaeologist in residence, Amer Ahmed, promptly called the the firefighters, who managed to control and eventually extinguish the fire. Then, our workmen immediately controlled the ancient structures on the tell as well as the house used by the mission, and they informed us that luckily they have suffered no damage.
      For a gallery of images of yesterday night's fire click here.


July 30, 2020
The book in honor of Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati
is now available online

     The volume in honor of Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, whose publication was announced on January 7th, is now available in digital format in the "publications" page of our website.
      The volume edited by Stefano Valentini and Guido Guarducci, entitled Between Syria and the highlands. Studies in honor of Giorgio Buccellati & Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, contains 42 articles written by 51 scholars - reflecting the many research interests on which the professors' studies and publications have spanned throughout their long and rich careers.


July 16, 2020
AVASA participates to a virtual meeting for
Europa Nostra/ILUCIDARE

     This morning, the Director of AVASA took part to a virtual "get together" whose purpose was to congratulate AVASA and all the other representatives of the projects which have been shortlisted for one of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes. At the meeting were present Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic (Secretary General of Europa Nostra), Emanuela de Menna (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, European Commission), Koen Van Balen (Coordinator of H2020 ILUCIDARE Project), Laurent Lévi-Strauss (Chair of ILUCIDARE Jury), and other representatives from the ILUCIDARE consortium, including Europa Nostra.
     During this informal online meeting, the representatives of each shortlisted project shared his/her message for Europe, and explained what being shortlisted for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes means for his/her project, looking at the future and at possible further developments. From their part, the members of Europa Nostra shared with us the European Heritage Alliance Manifesto and the report entitled "The Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe".


July 02, 2020
A significant new support for 2020 from the
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

     The Advisory Working Group for the Promotion of Italian Culture and Language Abroad - Archaeological Missions, of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has awarded a funding for the activities of the Tell Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project that will take place during 2020.
     The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been supporting Italian archaeological, anthropological and ethnological missions abroad for many years, in the firm belief that such missions are not only an important scientific and study activity, but also a valuable tool for training local stakeholders in the field of archaeology, restoration as well as protection of cultural heritage. It is therefore highly significant for AVASA to have received this governmental recognition at the highest level, a recognition that fully validates our commitment to intercultural dialogue and local development policies.
     The Director of the Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project, Federico Buccellati, has written a report on the activities that will be funded by the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is available at this link.


April-June 2020

June 30, 2020
A new project for the youngsters

     Despite the schools closure, due not only to the current pandemic but also to the upcoming summer, AVASA is ready to launch a new project aimed precisely at young middle school students. This initiative is characterized by a completely original approach, according to which individual students in Italy and Syria will enter into contact with each other, on a "one-on-one" basis.
     Meetings will take place under the supervision of our staff and will lead to specific objectives. The peculiarity of the program lies not only in the "one-on-one" relationship, but also in the fact that we propose Urkesh as a specific focus of interest with a unique mentorship. Students, in fact, will be tutored by young graduates or post-docs from Syria and the Arab world who currently live abroad, in Europe and in the United States.
     Updates and reports on the project will be regularly uploaded on this page of our website.


June 23, 2020
"Archaeobotanical Research in Ancient Near East. A Glance to the Syrian Kurdistan"

     Today was the last day of the cycle of lectures for PhD students entitled "The exploitation of plants during protohistory", held by Matteo Delle Donne at the University of Naples "l'Orientale".
     The lectures aimed to provide some theoretical and methodological tools needed to understand the ancient relationship between man and the environment, through the presentation of specific case studies - among which Urkesh/Tell Mozan was also included.
     More information on this cycle of lectures, including abstracts in Italian and English for each class, is available at this webpage.


June 16, 2020
Heritage Conservation grant from the Kaplan Fund

     A major grant from the Kaplan Fund has been awarded to IIMAS, our sister institution with which we carry out our work at Tell Mozan, ancient Urkesh. The grant will allow us to continue the work we started with the support which the Cariplo Foundation gave to AVASA, and even to expand our programs as we respond to new needs that emerge as a result of the many events affecting not only Syria, but our whole world today.
     The name of the Kaplan grant program, "Heritage Conservation," epitomizes what we have been doing over the last several years at Tell Mozan. The recent report which you can find at gives an overview of the many activities we have included in our proposal. They include the presentation of the site to visitors and the school project, including the music for young people. And here is a section from the proposal that emphasizes our growing understanding of what heritage ultimately means:
     "Ever sensitive to the presence of local communities and their growing awareness of what was hidden under the ground with which their lives are inextricably interwoven, we have come to touch by hand what "heritage" means. Not a thing to be treated impersonally, but a living reality to be appropriated. The ten years of war that have forced us to be absent physically from the site have only reinforced our ability to interact with the local communities: not only have we continued what we had started, we were also able to broadly expand our programs. We have maintained the full momentum of our work during this long period by keeping concrete programs active. More importantly, we have nurtured even more the sense of social identity that builds on that shared sense of heritage. Thus the site has become a beacon of light, in the darkness of the conflict, for a number of diverging communities who find in this shared past a motive for coming together, instead of being torn apart. It is so because they have come to feel what it means to be inheritors of a common past - however distant and remote".

Kaplan Kaplan Kaplan Kaplan

June 15, 2020
A collaborative project with Nanjing University

     A new international collaboration expands around the world the already rich network of contacts of the Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project.
     Professor Liangren Zhang from Department of History of Nanjing University (China), director of several research projects in China, Russia and Iran, has expressed an interest in the Urkesh data management system, and one of his students, Yingshan Guo, first year doctoral student in the field of Iranian archaeology, will work under the direction of Dr. Lorenzo Crescioli in the implementation, revision and digital publication of Unit A20, in the UGR format (Urkesh
Global Record). A20 represents an interesting excavation unit investigated during the last years of field work in Syria (2008 and 2010) and has yielded a remarkable variety of structures mainly dating to the Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B.C.), the Mittani and Middle Assyrian periods.
     This collaboration is made possible through the support of Xu Fanxi, who worked in Mozan during the early years of the excavation.

Nanjing Nanjing

June 8-12, 2020
Curso para Profesores y Doctorandos
La "Bibbia" in una prospettiva mesopotamica.
Storia, storiografia, ermeneutica.

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Buccellati
Sala de Claustros, Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso,
c/ Jerte, 10 - 28005 Madrid (Spain)

     In June, 8-12, 2020, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati taught a course at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso, Madrid (Spain) focusing on epistemological, historical, and hermeneutical aspects of the biblical texts. The course was structured in five steps, facing, after an introduction (session 1), aspects of Mesopotamian history (session 2) and problems of biblical epistemology (sessions 3-4), reaching a final conclusion in the last class (session 5).
     A flyer presenting the topics of this course can be downloaded here.


June 3, 2020
AVASA and the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes in the news

     Several Italian online videos and articles describe the significant achievement of our School Project, shortlisted for one of the special prizes ILUCIDARE 2020.
     In the section "Reports" of our website you can find three articles published on the website of Agcult, the news agency specialized in public policy related to culture and tourism.
In the media, instead, you can see a report aired on the VCO news, and read an article published on the website


May 28, 2020
The School Project shortlisted for one of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes

     Today our School Project has received a very significant international distincion: "Archaeology for a Young Future" is among the 6 shortlisted projects for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes, within the European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards 2020 (funded by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 funded programme, under grant agreement No. 821394”)!
     The Jury emphasized how "Archaeology for a Young Future is a strong example of how heritage can lead to people-to-people dialogue. This project promotes intercultural exchange and mutual understanding between students, teachers and local communities from Italy and Syria.": you can read more on the ILUCIDARE website.
     We are indeed very proud of this achievement, and grateful to all the teachers and students who have seen the educational and cultural significance of this initiative. Winners will be announced in Autumn 2020.


May 21, 2020
Federico Buccellati appointed Director of the
Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project

     Federico Buccellati is the new director of the Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project. He succeeds Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, who served as Director from 1984 until 2020, and was appointed following the official approval of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Damascus.
     Federico has never missed a season of excavations, and since 2005 has served as Assistant Director and Field Director. During his tenure, he has contributed in an essential way to the excavation strategy, the stratigraphic control, the methodological development, and the implementation of sophisticated digital techniques. He has a deep knowledge of the site and its potential, the full confidence of the local people, and an abiding commitment to the community aspect of the project. He has published extensively on Urkesh, and his scholarly profile, solidly rooted in Europe and in the US, will guarantee the high standards which were set for the project over the years, and will at the same time infuse new energy in the project and ensure its continuity.



April 12, 2020
Two articles on the excavations at Tell Mozan

      Two important articles describing two different aspects of our project at Tell Mozan, originally published in the book SANEM 3, are now accessible online on our website.
     The first one, by Neville Agnew and Martha Demas, offers a critical analysis of the architecture conservation system at Mozan: the two distinguished colleagues from the Getty Conservation Institute highlight the unique features that characterize our approach towards this important aspect of the excavation work.
     The second article, by Diederik Meijer from the University of Leiden, one of the deans of Syrian archaeology, develops in depth the themes that characterize the methodological approach of our project.


January-March 2020

March 28, 2020
The School Project now includes also high schools

     Since the school year 2019/2020, our Schools Project has developed in many ways. As we have already described in a previous post, in fact, starting from this year we aim to connect Italy, Syria and Greece in a twinning of cultures and archaeological sites.
     But this is not the only news: on this page, you can read about how, starting from this year, we have involved also high schools in our project. In particular, students from the "Antonio Rosmini" High School of Human Sciences in Domodossola and the "Homo Educandus" High School in Corinth have already started a dialogue which, we are sure, will enrich all those involved in this unique adventure.

AK School

March 3, 2020
Students of the "Almaza Khalil" school visit Urkesh

     On a beautiful sunny day, about 70 students from the "Almaza Khalil" school visited the site of ancient Urkesh, accompanied by their educators and the archaeologist on our staff in Mozan, Amer Ahmed.
     The students, of various ages, admired the area of the Palace and the monumental staircase (further information), listening to the history of the ancient city and its inhabitants. They asked many questions and read with interest the information contained in the explanatory panels arranged throughout the archaeological area.
     At this link you can find many photos of the day, and a text sent to us by Amer.

AK School

February 23, 2020
An assessment of the site presentation panels

     Our workers on the site have made a thorough assessment of the state of the panels used along the path that accompanies the visitors to Tell Mozan.
     They have sent us numerous photos that show how, at the end of winter, both the metal structures and the sheets contained within them have suffered from the extreme weather conditions of the last few months.
     In the next weeks, we will repair all the panels that are part of our site presentation system, in order to be ready to welcome visitors who will start arriving to the site in spring.

stand1 stand2

February 17, 2020
A new beginning for the School Project

     Today, our school project has seen a new development in Syria.
     The archaeologist on our staff in Mozan, Amer Ahmed, has met many students at the al-Salam school in the city of Qamishli - a school directed by Father Antranik Ayvazian, head of the local Armenian community. This time, our project aims to put them in contact with the archaeological site of ancient Corynth, in Greece. In this very first meeting, Amer went to suggest this exchange and provide the students with some preliminary information on the archaeology of Corynth.
     Read about the students' reaction and see many photos of this extraordinary meeting at this page.


February 13, 2020
Snow on Urkesh

     Unusual images come from Tell Mozan. Our workers on the site have written to inform us about an unusual snowfall, which has whitewashed the entire area around the site.
     As you can see from the photos, the snow has covered the village of Mozan as well as the archaeological site of Urkesh. The pictures also show how, once again, our system of protection of the ancient structures has proved effective, protecting the walls of the Tupkish Palace and the large section in the area of the Temple Terrace.


January 9-11, 2020
"Community archaeology in time of war: the Mozan/Urkesh project in northeastern Syria"

     Our project was presented at the annual conference of the British Association for Near Eastern Archaeology (BANEA). Arwa Kharobi presented a paper entitled "Community archaeology in time of war: the Mozan/Urkesh project in northeastern Syria", written together with the Project Directors Giorgio and Marilyn Buccellati, and Federico Buccellati.
     In light of Arwa Kharobi's specific research interests, the presentation highlighted in particular the great care with which the expedition working at Urkesh has always treated the human remains discovered during the excavations: also in this case, the respect for local communities and the relationship of mutual trust established with the locals have made it possible to develop excavation strategies that have proved crucial to the success of the mission.


January 7, 2020
A new book in honor of Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

     A new book was announced today: the publication of a volume in honor of the directors of the Tell Mozan/Urkesh Project, Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati. The book, entitled Between Syria and the highlands. Studies in honor of Giorgio Buccellati & Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, is edited by Stefano Valentini and Guido Guarducci and included in the series SANEM - Studies on the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean published by CAMNES (Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies), Florence.
     51 scholars from universities and research centres all around the world have honored the directors of our project by offering contributions that range geographically from the Near East to the Caucasus, from the third to the first millennium B.C.: papers are related to archaeology, glyptics, they include philological and literary studies, historical contributions as well as digital humanities and archive studies.
     With this important volume, the editors aim to celebrate the empathy and intellectual honesty always shown by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, to whom the merit of having given "life to an archaeology full of humanity: made up of people and faces, not only of pottery and of dust" is acknowledged.
     Two important articles about the Urkesh project are now online.


October-December 2019

December 2019
"The pride of heritage"

     A new report on Urkesh has been published and is now available in this section of our website.
     In this newly available text, Giorgio Buccellati, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati and Federico Buccellati provide an overview of how Urkesh could become a model of archaeological enterprise in these unprecedented times, and summarize the extraordinary range of activities that AVASA and the Tell Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project have promoted during the past eight years of Syrian war.


November 2019
New articles on Urkesh

     Two new articles written by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, directors of the archaeological mission at Tell Mozan, have recently been published. These articles discuss different aspects of ancient Urkesh ("Urkesh ceramic evidence for function"), also describing the current situation of the site, during the years of the war in Syria ("From Urkesh to Mozan. The itinerary of a project in
     These recent publications, as well as all the articles and volumes written on Urkesh by members of the archaeological mission from 1990 to the present day, are available on the E-Library of the Urkesh website:


November 11, 2019
Father Hofseip: a major loss for Qamishli and the region

     Today, two car bombs hit the city of Qamishli. In addition to this, Father Hofseip Bidouian - a priest in the Saint Joseph Armenian Catholic Church in Qamishli - was shot to death by ISIS while he was on his way from Hassaka to Deir Ezzor.
     Father Hofseip visited our exhibit in Qamishli with Father Antranik in 2018. His death is indeed a great loss for all the different communities in Qamishli and in the region.


October 27, 2019
Bread and yogurt – and healing

     The Director of the Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project has been very ill this summer, and had a long stay in the hospital. As a result, neither she nor her husband Giorgio could particpate in the re-opening of the Aleppo Museum, which took place on October 24th.
     They had planned on celebrating her 80th birthday, October 27th, in Syria. Instead, on that very evening, Marilyn and Giorgio were summoned at 3 AM for a mandatory evacuation from their home due to the fires that were spreading throughout the city of Los Angeles. They were able to return four days later and their home was fortunately untouched.
     For her birthday, Marilyn received two moving greetings form Mozan.
     Muhammad Omo sent a video clip in which he says: "I am sending you bread and yogurt from Urkesh. All the people in Tell Mozan send their greetings and say that you should come back again. Once again happy birthday and give my regards to Abu Iskandar, Iskandar and all the expedition members."
     Amer Ahmad sent a long email in which he poetiucally links the healing of Marilyn with that of Syria: "To Umm Iskandar, unfortunately I have never met you in Mozan, so I have no photos with you. However, a few words may make me beside you in this time. I would like to tell you that everyone look forwards for your coming back to Mozan, they pray for your healing, that we are also in pain nowadays, we are attacked by terrorist groups but we are determined to be strong, to be beside each other. I surely believe that very soon Syria will be healed and also Umm Iskandar the same, then Mozan will tell you it is the time for your return, the time to hug Mozan, everything in Tell Mozan is missed you. The palace, abi and the temple are missed you, Tell Mozan's children are waiting their mother. I have your room's key I will never give it to anyone except for you, it is also waiting you, the trees in the Dig House are very sad but they are very optimistic that the day which they will be irrigated by your hands became soon, everything in Mozan is praying for your next surgery, everything says long live my mother, they are all celebrating your birthday, they all say Happy Birthday Umm Iskandar.".


October 24, 2019
Urkesh at the re-opening of the Archaeological Museum in Aleppo

     One year after the reopening of the Archaeological Museum of Damascus, Urkesh was also present at the big event organized to celebrate the reopening of the Archaeological Museum of Aleppo.
     For the occasion we set up an updated version, in Arabic and English, of the exhibition "The millennia for today": the panels were visible on two large screens, some bilingual posters provided further updated information on the site, while free copies of the English catalogue were available to the numerous visitors.
     Our collaborator Yasmine Mahmoud was present in person, to talk to all those who wanted to know more about our project: soon she will send us a detailed description of the event, which we will publish here on our website.


October 20, 2019
Urkesh is safe..

     Urkesh suprises once again , and shows how much everyone who has worked on Tell Mozan continues to feel part of one great project...
     In these difficult days, our local collaborator, Amer Ahmed, has published on his Facebook page the photo on the right, in which he appears with the site guards, with the words (in Arabic and English) "Urkesh is safe". Shortly afterwards Sabagh, the blacksmith who, almost twenty years ago, contributed to the construction of the metal structure that protects the walls of the Tupkish Palace (who currently lives in Turkey) commented on the photo with almost poetic words: "No matters how far I am from Urkesh, I remain close to it. My heart is still wandering around the tell, burning for it like incense...".


October 18, 2019
Updates from Urkesh

      Our local collaborators today sent us some photographs showing how the site of Urkesh has remained untouched despite the war is now raging also in our region.
      From the pictures on the right (click on the photos to see them in larger size) it is clear that the Royal Palace and the covering structure used to protect its walls are in excellent conditions, thanks to the constant effort of our local workmen.

French French

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, the archaeologist on our staff in Mozan, 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 is available at this link.


May 15, 2019
"Tell Mozan and the possibilities of cultural protection from below"

     "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 (the students' original panels can be found at this link, while here you can find an English translation of the texts).
     Then, standing on the large monumental staircase (further information) 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 Amer's incredible dedication 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
"Archaeology and Syrian Identity: 'Urkesh Gate', a good Tale from Syria"

     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 8, 2018
Online article on "News 24 Ossola"

     On the occasion of the reopening of the National Museum of Damascus, an online article has been published on "News 24 Ossola", a local (related to an area around Domodossola) Italian newpaper (in online format only).
     In this article, the author, Mauro Zuccari, tells about the reopening of the Museum and the presence at the official ceremony of an exhibit (previously shown at the "Meeting" in Rimini) buit up by Giorgio Buccellati, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, Stefania Ermidoro, and Yasmine Mahmoud, describing the history of Urkesh and the activities carried on by the Urkesh team to connect, at least at distance, Italian and Syrian students. The exhibit, entitled "Millennia for Today", ended up in a publication translated in English, Italian, and Arabic.
     At the end of the paper, a link provides the reader with an access to an interesting video-interview, realized by the author of this article, to Giorgio Buccellati on the occasion of the "Meeting" in Rimini.
     The Italian text of the article is available online and a PDF version with the English translation can be downloaded at this link.


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 the archaeologist on our staff in Mozan, 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
"Research, Communication, and Identity in Times of Crisis: The Example of Tell Mozan"

     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 2, 2018
The "Classic Music School" in Qamishli visits Urkesh/Tell Mozan (with performance)

     On July 2, 2018, the "Classic Music School" in Qamishli visited Tell Mozan, ancient Urkesh, under the supervision of maestro Muhammed Saleh Ismail.
     After the visit, the students offered a music performance on site, a very emotional and touching experience.
     The "Classic Music School" in Qamishli will visit again Urkesh/Tell Mozan on Friday, October 7, 2022, repeating the experience of performing on this "stage", unique in the world.


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" (an abstract of the paper given by the Professors is available at this link).
     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 (further information) to the palace, and inside the ābi.
     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, the archaeologist on our staff in Mozan who comes 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
"The Urkesh Extended Project: Archaeology for the future"

     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, two archaeologists 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.
      Xu Fanxi, a member of the Expedition who now lives in Shanghai, presented a joint paper on our project and collected the medal on behalf of the Expedition.


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, with the sponsorpship of UNESCO, 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.
     A full report of the event may be found at this link.


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

          We are strongly committed to our program of scientific publications about our researches. 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.