Unit Book J2

J2 Synthetiv View / Presentation

Presentation in Unit J2: The Tour

Stefania Ermidoro – March 2014

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Conservation and Site Presentation in Mozan are two projects closely related to each other: in fact, the ultimate purpose of preserving objects and architectures is to share them with visitors and scholars. Throughout the years, a flexible system has been set in place, that can be constantly updated and adapted to the different areas of excavations (add link to the webpage of the Site Presentation Project). This includes different signs and tools, which have been conceived to be less invasive as possible within the geography of the site.

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The Tour: Panoramas and Signposts

The area of J2 is firstly presented and discussed in the Temple panorama: here, a comprehensive explanation of the Temple Terrace is provided which helps the visitor understanding the correlation between the different spaces and areas of excavation that are in front of him.

J2 represent in fact a critical space, having the function of separating the Temple Terrace area from the Plaza: it served as the link between the human and the divine, and it was charged, thus, with ideological significance. The panels that have been placed in this unit aims at highlighting its role, by creating a narrative that starts at the most southern edge of the Plaza, continues in front of the apron and the monumental access, and has its culmination at the top of the staircase, at the Temple.

Because of its significance for the history of ancient Urkesh, and at the same time for the events related to its modern rediscovery and the following archaeological excavations, the Presentation Project conceived for this area describes not only the massive remains, but engages also in providing to the tourist a real “sense of archaeology” (Signpost 3).

At the south-eastern corner of the Plaza, a panel explains the effort undertaken in 2008 to open a perspective from this spot toward the Temple Terrace and the importance of sections for the archaeological studies. Moreover, it introduces the two projects related to Conservation and Site Presentation in Mozan, explaining their importance within the whole strategy of the mission, and the outstanding results they can lead to. (Panel 3a)

When he starts to walk toward the staircase, the visitor is accompanied by a second panel, that helps him to realize how, precisely thanks to the effort put in the Site Presentation, he has today the chance of enjoying a “visual foothold” that might allow him “to recapture the perceptual experience of the ancients as they approached their shrine from the southern end of the Plaza.” (Panel 3b)

At the base of the staircase, it is time to stop and admire the monumental nature of the whole area: here, it is immediately clear that the 24 steps in front of the visitor had (and still have) a significance that went beyond pure utilitarianism. (Signpost 4).

The revetment wall, with its “mountain-triangle” motif, is again visible now and recalls to the memory what has been said before, at the western corner of the plaza (“The ancient perception”, Panel 1b; Panel 4a).

The panels placed here, however, focus not only on what is evident, the lithic constructions: they provide, first, a reading of the general context thanks to a focus on sections, immediately visible all around the visitor. On the “walls” made of soil and created by the progressing of the archaeological excavations season after season, in fact, the whole history of the monumental access to the Temple Terrace is unfolded in front of his eyes: from the earliest time, in the fourth millennium, to its end due to a massive brickfall - all this can be truly read in the sections. An impressive template, which summarizes all the archaeological phases, is provided here and gives thus the sense of really reading “the site as a book”. (Panel 4b)

The chapter of the Presentation Project dedicated to J2 has its culmination at the top of the staircase: after having performed the “great ascent”, the destination is finally reached. The Temple Terrace and its main third-millennium building dedicated to the god Kumarbi are explained in a series of panels that aims at transmitting the sense of sacredness that has always pervaded this space. (Singpost 5, Panels 4a and 4b).

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