The Modern Face of an Ancient City

Sustainable economic development of a Mesopotamian archaeological site
Phase Two


Abstract for the UCLA

New Seed Grant Opportunity to Enhance Transdisciplinary Research/Scholarship


Giorgio Buccellati, April 2012



     The 2011 Proposal indicated that we would develop detailed plans for an Ecoarchaeological park centered on my excavations at the ancient city of Urkesh, the trans-disciplinary aspect being the articulate relationship with the field of economics.
     A caveat emerged while writing our proposal in April 2011, namely the sudden surge of national unrest in Syria: this seemed like a potential major obstacle to our goals, but what developed during the year brought out instead, more forcefully than ever, the current relevance of our project. Contacts with the stakeholders, at the level of the authorities and of the local people, showed how our project in fact provided a strong motivation to work together on a project that aimed in a very practical way at the core question of self-identity and of economic and social progress. A number of very concrete interactive events occurred that were made possible by the TSGF, with a lively sense of surprise that something so special could take place in the midst of what seemed otherwise a possible paralysis in the cultural life of the country.
     The expansion of the project that I propose now lies in four directions. (1) Intensification of the contacts with the stakeholders by means of three workshops that will include (a) the scholarly contributors to the project, (b) the official representatives of the Directorate iof Antiquities, (c) the private and business concerns at the local level in Syria. (2) Publication of a volume with the proceedings of the workshops and an expansion of select central themes. (3) The establishment of a website that will offer the main results obtained during the tenure of the grant, and present a synopsis of future plans, produced in an attractive style that will also serve for future fund-raising. (4) Start of a small pilot project at the center site of Mozan with preparatory work for developing the first model site out of the 22 total sites within the Park.