The Site Presentation at Tell Mozan
  the life behind the ruins

The Project

     It is the archaeologists' privilege to intuit beneath the surface the life that bustled in ancient times before a site came to be covered under its own collapse. At Tell Mozan, we strongly believe that archaeologists also have the task to provide a sense of the life behind the ruins, and to share their discoveries with all those who come in contact with the site itself.

     From the basic interest in making the results of the excavations meaningful for visitors, the archaeologists' effort at Tell Mozan has developed into a more complex and well structured system that aims at captivating the occasional visitor on the one hand and, on the other, at providing maximum documentation for the scholar. An overriding concern has always been that of keeping the system as flexible as possible, so that constant updates may properly reflect the progress of the excavations over time and communicate thereby the sense of the dynamics intrinsic to our research.

The Site as a Book

     Just as the excavation strategy pursues a logic aimed at exposing a coherent whole, so, too, the Site Presentation Project at Mozan proposes the unfolding of a unified story. This is done through an organization of the signs along an intellectual itinerary that matches the physical paths. It is the overarching narrative frame that introduces a certain positive tensionality as one progresses through time and space, reflecting at the same time on the archaeological process that makes it all possible.
     Similarly to the conservation tools and materials employed on the site, also the display techniques are simple, at home in the local context, and inexpensive: this is what has allowed us to maintain them fully operational notwithstanding the physical distance of the archaeological expedition in the past years.
     Three different types of signs are used on the site, where the physical difference is matched by the functional difference. Signposts are single panels that describe in a few words the nature of a stop along the way: they are inscribed with a large number that helps identify the stop from some distance and, together, they constitute the full itinerary that is proposed to the visitor. "Panoramas" refer to the structure from which one looks at the excavations from a raised position: here we have placed permanent shades that allow the visitor to take in a broad view of selected areas, and large panels that include a number of pages, arranged in various thematic groups. Finally, reading stands are placed at specific junctures within the excavations, facing the feature they illustrate: for the most part, they contain four pages plus smaller insets, and they are written in English and Arabic.

Most recent site presentation activities on the site      As for every other aspect of the site maintenance and preservation, our system is rooted in many years of collaboration with our local assistants during the archaeological campaigns, through which we have laid the basis for a fruitful and longstanding presentation project.      Under the supervision of Amer Ahmad, the local archaeologist with whom we are constantly in contact, we not only have a good perception of the current situation of the signage system, but we also ensure welcoming and guidance to the many visitors of various age, background and provenance who can thus fully enjoy the experience of visiting and understanding Mozan as Urkesh.

the condition of the Palace panorama before maintenance

and the Palace panorama after cleaning and renovation

           Here is a list of recent activities carried out at Urkesh under the supervision of Amer Ahmad, to keep the signage system in good state and present the site to visitors.
     Click on the link to find out more, from our "Events" page.
     - March 3, 2020. Students of the "Almaza Khalil" school visit Urkesh.
     - February 23, 2020. An assessment of the site presentation panels.
     - July 12, 2019. A new introduction to Tell Mozan.
     - April 14, 2019. The rain does not stop the visits to the site.
     - March 13, 2019. Spanish tourists at Urkesh.
     - March 11, 2019. Two more schools visiting Urkesh.
     - February 24-25, 2019. New schools visiting Urkesh.
     - February 20, 2019. A new panorama for the Palace.
     - December 9, 2018. New visit at Tell Mozan.
     - June 12, 2018. Tourists from Spain, Russia and the United Kingdom at Urkesh!.
     - April 18, 2018. More teachers-to-be visit Mozan.
     - April 17, 2018. The new middle school students visiting the site.
     - April 14, 2018. Kids from the Qamishli Orchestra visiting Mozan.
     - April 13, 2018. Teachers visiting Mozan.
     - March 2018. The Qamishli middle schools in Urkesh.
     - December 2017. Visiting Mozan from Erbil (Iraq).