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MZS synthetic view / Integrative analysis


Giorgio Buccellati – November 2006

The primary duty of the excavator is to document fully what has been excavated, not just what pertains to the project’s research strategy or personal scholarly interests. It is to this end that the whole effort of the Urkesh Global Record is directed. Yet it is just as true that excavators have a special relationship to the data, and that the familiarity resulting from their uniquely personal confrontation with those data enjoins them to extract the fullest possible measure of meaning. Even as excavators we must therefore build wider integrative constructs that bring to bear whatever outside evidence is known to us at any given moment.

The integrative dimension, or lack thereof, must not become a handicap that prevents publication, no more than a lack of a full depositional understanding, or of typological analysis, should hold us back from recognizing the emplacement data’s rightful claim to immediate publication. Hence in many a case (particularly in the future as we expect to arrive at a full publication shortly after the completion of any given season) integrative reflection may be wanting from the early version of any given excavation Unit. Also, in many cases integrative analysis may pertain more properly to a broader Area (e.g., AA) then to a single Unit (e.g., A16).

Integrative analysis relies on comparative material from other sites, and on their interpretation. This applies both to structures and objects. For instance, the Urkesh Temple Terrace can best be understood in relationship to the analogous structure in Tell Chuera and in contrast with the ziggurats in the south. Similarly, the distinctive reaslitic style of Urkesh glyptics can be appreciated especially when seen in constrast with the more tylized style of Sumerian glyptics on the one hand, or with the different realistic style of Akkadian glyotics on hte other.

The Urkesh Global Record will make room for integrative analysis in the measure in which the excavators may present some reflections from the very early stages of their work, leaving further room for more in depth contributions at later stages of the research. But one aspect of integrative analysis which must be taken into account from the very beginning relates to periodization, which must here be considered in some detail.

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