November 2005 - G. Buccellati
The home for this page is Mozan Sitewide

Overall direction of excavations
Unit staff
Unit work crew
Sitewide staff
Support personnel


     I have discussed elsewhere...
     While the project staff is directly involved in the publication process, we must look at the
"authorial" staff in a different perspective, because the nature of the involvement is often different.
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     Concretely, the presuppositions that are behind authorship, and that allow the system to function, take shape in the specific responsibilities that each member assumes on the excavation.
     The overall directors do not provide an extrinsic overlay, but are rather closely integrated with the work of the unit staff on a day to day basis. The units do not conduct parallel and independent projects. Part of the "philosophy" of the system is precisely that the strong "grammatical" coherence of the theoretical scaffolding is matched by an equally strong operational cohesiveness. The overall directors ensure that that is the case. On the operational level, the directors also make sure that logistic details are in place to ensure the smooth functioning of house and work activities, and in this they rely on the support of a colleague who officially represents the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities. The Syrian tradition is exemplary in providing a constructive interaction that is wholly in function of allowing to obtain the maximum results on the scholarly level while operating within the cultural and legal environment of our host country.
     The unit staff itself consists on the average of three to four individuals, while the work crew consists on the average of twenty workmen. Together with the work crew, they constitute a close-knit organism, with clearly defined systemic interrelationships. The staff is responsible for the write-up of the record, while the work crew carries out the manual work without contributing to the written record.
     In addition to the tasks relating to the excavation process as such, there is a host of other disciplines that come into play depending on the type of finds and availability of specialists. They range from epigraphy, glyptics and choroplastics to physical anthropology, archaeozoology and paleobotany, from conservation to information technology, and so on.
     The Sitewide staff are on call for technical assistance. This, too, is seen not merely as extrinsic expertise that is invoked mechanically, but as a constitutive part of the overall strategy. This is especially trues of conservators (see above). But photographer and surveyor, for instance, are also made regularly aware of the archaeological context within which they operate, and provide an input in the formulation of the pertinent strategy. The goal is for everyone to have a specific sense of archaeological purpose within the larger scheme of things.

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Overall direction of excavations

Director, stratigraphy Direct contact with all excavation units, with final authority and responsibility regarding
  • strategy (where and how to dig, etc.)
  • supervision of documentation (quality of text and graphics
  • overall interpretation (coordination with other units,
  • correlation to overall depositional history of the site, etc.),
  • implementation of recording, conservation, presentation.
  • Director, typology Direct contact with all excavation units, with final authority and responsibility regarding
  • definition of criteria for documentation (forms, rosters, lexica, etc.)
  • establishment of standards of collection and analysis (
  • setting of priorities (which lots get analyzed first, etc.)
  • organization of processing
  • selection of objects for Museum
  • overall interpretation based on artifacts (pottery chronology, stylistic analysis of glyptics, etc.)
  • Field director Direct contact with all excavation units, reporting to both Directors with regard to strategy, documentation, interpretation, and with direct responsibility regarding
  • the carrying out of the strategy in the excavations,
  • hiring and supervision of all workmen,
  • resource allocation (staff, workmen, tools, etc.),
  • timing (beginning and end of excavation, duration of study periods)
  • operative coordination with support staff (surveying, photography, etc.)
  • implementation and management of IT system
  • management of Expedition house and staff
  • Assistant director Supervision of the Urkesh Global Record in its totality and with regard to the individual excavation units. In particular, the person in this position
  • helps in reviewing the progress done during the season
  • oversees the UGR work by the unit directors
  • supervises the training of beginning staff members
  • assists the staff with questions relating to the implementaion of programs
  • monitors and reports problems that arise in the daily creation of the UGR
  • proposes adjustments, changes and improvements in function of regular program updates
  • Representative,
    Syrian Directorate General
    of Antiquities and Museums
    Interface with the legal and cultural environment within which we operate in the Syrian Arab Republic. In particular, he or she
  • helps to understand local customs and traditions
  • officially represents the Expedition vis-à-vis local civil authorities
  • advises on labor issues
  • assists in obtaining residence permits
  • as a fellow archaeologist, reviews our field operations and relationships to the Museum
  • contributes to the scholarly goals of the Expedition by sharing, as time permits, in the excavation process and the analysis of the data
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    Unit staff

    Unit director
    (Number One)
    A single person at any given time in any given unit.
    A Number One is generally a graduate from our three year training program.
    The critical hinge between the decisional and the operative levels, the Unit director
  • carries out the decisions reached about the strategic conduct of the day-to-day excavations
  • coordinates the work of all members of the Unit staff
  • develops his or own interpretation of the depositional history of the Unit
  • guarantees that the digital record be complete and be posted in its final form in the main central server of the Expedition
  • ensures that all the paper records be properly stored in the Expedition paper archives
  • sees to it that all data are properly processed through the various programs to produce the basic Browser version
  • Associate unit director
    A person who has served as Number One and is currently assisting an active Number One, in an advisory capacity and without direct responsibilities for the management of the unit.
    Unit associate
    (Number Two)
    Generally only one person in any given unit. There may be more than one, especially if the unit is subdivided into two or more distinct operational sectors.
    A Number Two is generally a third year trainee in our overall three year program. The pertinent tasks include:
  • assisting the Unit director in the tasks described above
  • some of those tasks may be delegated in toto to the associate directors
  • following in particular the training of the Unit assistants
  • Unit assistant
    (Number Three)
    Generally two to four persons in any given unit.
    A Number Three is generally a first and second year trainee in our overall three year program. Typically they will:
  • be present in the field and learn both the manual aspect of the excavation and the recording techniques (in particular following the workmen, drawing sections, recording items and lots, measuring coordinates, registering the views)
  • in the house, they will work on data entry and basic programs, on photo templates, on plots, etc.
  • they will also develop a specialty in line with their individual aptitudes, such as drawing or ceramic analysis
  • Staff assistant Generally one person in any given unit.
    A local student, not of archaeology, who helps with measuring, recording of numerical data, drafting.
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    Unit work crew

    Excavator ("pickman") Generally three to six persons in any given unit.
    They are skilled local workmen
    Workman Generally four persons per excavator.
    They are unskilled local workmen, who take care of the dirt removal and evacuation, with dust pan, shovel, wheel barrow and other mechanical means.
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    Physical anthropology
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    Sitewide staff

  • Sets markers (high precision benchmarks) throughout the Tell, and keeps the full record.
  • Sets control points (precision markers) for all units, and keeps the full record.
  • Occasionally takes relays on behalf of the units.
  • Photographer
  • Takes field photographs on behalf of units.
  • Takes object photographs in the studio.
  • Takes overall site photos (e.g., kite)
  • Takes incidental photographs (landscape, visitors, etc.)
  • Takes photographs of the Tel during the off season.
  • In each case, the photographer downloads all photographs in their raw state, and makes them available to the photographic registrar for further treatment.
  • Photographic registrar
  • Registers all photographs according to the specific UGR protocol.
  • With the advice of unit staff members, identifies the photos that are to be selected out of the many taken by the photographer.
  • Chooses the best photos for objects and incidentals
  • Note. Redundant bracketed photos are not registered, but re kept in the basic archive of all photos taken.
  • Processes all photos, as a result of which all photos are placed on the server, files listing photos for unit books are also posted on the server, full indices of all photos are maintained.
  • Draftsperson
  • Information technician Our IT specialists operate at various levels of expertise. Besides programming and systems coordination, there is also lower level assistance, such as file maintenance, which has become essential and is generally carried out by local assistants whom we have trained.
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    Support personnel

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