On Sunday, 9/12/2018, I accompanied Mr. Samuel Sweeney, American freelance writer and researcher based in Erbil with a Master's in Islamic-Christian relations from University of Saint Joseph in Beirut, who had been in touch with me about visiting some archaeological sites in the province of Raqqa.
During our communication, I suggested that he can visit Tell Mozan (Urkesh) as well. He accepted with pleasure, especially because he thought that a site such as Urkesh could represent a reliable example for an article which he will write immediately after his return, in which he will make comparisons between Urkesh and the other sites of the Raqqa province.
We have roamed upon the mound, talking about the history of the site and the most important architectural and monumental discoveries, such as the Abi, the Tupkish Palace and the Great temple. He was interested in taking photographs of every detail, did not hide his admiration for the site, and was surprised by the great interest showed by the archaeological mission and the local community, who are preserving the site and its architectural features harmoniously.
I do not want to speak on his behalf, so I would like to present you what he wrote himself...
"It was a pleasure and an honor to visit the site of Tell Mozan (Urkesh) with Amer Ahmed. Having had the opportunity to visit other sites later on during my stay, the contrast between those and Tell Mozan became quite clear. The site is in excellent shape, and it is obvious how much those inside and outside Syria who have worked there care about it. Walking around Tell Mozan, the history of the site comes alive, and it provides an example of how to engage local communities with archaeology.
To anyone but a specialist, the importance of most archaeological sites remains abstract, but at Tell Mozan it is possible to walk around and grasp intuitively what the site would have felt like, and what its significance would have been at its peak. The area around Tell Mozan is very safe - there is no war zone or conflict to prevent a visit to the site or put it at risk".
This is how the writer summed up his visit to Urkesh. He also thanked all the staff who are working on the site, hoping for a rapid return of the mission, to complete its work and reveal more of the history of the site.
Finally, I would like to thank him very much for accepting my proposal to visit Urkesh.