Display organization in Unit J1
November 2009 - G. Buccellati
J1 is the first stop on the itinerary that matches the natural flow of a regular narrative line. This first stop sets the tone in three ways.
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- Being the place where one gains the best view of the earliest exposed phases in the occupational history of the site, the visitor is confronted from the beginning with the wide chronological span that characterizes the life of ancient Urkesh. In particular, the walls of the Late Chalcolithic period are illustrated in detail in one of the J1 reading stands.
- Intrigued by the confrontation with material of such an ancient date, visitors are introduced to the function of sections in archaeology, on which all chronological inference s ultimately based. Here they are in fact faced with a particularly eloquent example, the eastern section of J1. This is articulated in the panel entitled The Clash of Centuries, and is further highlighted in the special single panel that renders schematically the depositional sequence of the Plaza as seen in this unit.
- The narrative flow accompanies visitors as they move along the itinerary – and one of the important aspects to which they are introduced in J1 is the need to descend within the excavations to the level of the ancient floors. The long downward walk along the J1 staircases creates as if a psychological distance between modern and ancient, and this is emphasized in the panel about the Ancient Perception.
Panels of three different types are posted in connection with unit J1.
The signpost, entitled "Facing the Centuries," highlights the main themes that lend special significance to Unit J1 in terms of the overall itinerary.
While there is no "panorama" per se that overlooks J1, the Temple "panorama," just east of J1, puts it in perspective vis-à-vis the monumental staircase in J2.
As of 2009, there are four reading stands specifically written for J1.
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