Unit Book OH2

General Introduction

Preface to Unit OH2

Giorgio Buccellati – September 2023

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OH2 at a glance

This volume was completed by the end of the excavation season, in conformity with our goal to provide a full stratigraphic record as of the completion of the field work. The operation was quite limited in the size and time of the excavation, and as a result it was possible to devote more space than is normally the case to the typological analysis of the artifacts. In this way, it is also meant to serve as a sample of what the concept of the Urkesh Globbal Record is meant to provide. Even so, the volume still belongs within the Urkesh Stratigraphic Record since the stratigraphic documentation is indeed considered closed, whereas the typological component, ample though it may be in this particular instance, can be developed ever more fully. It bears tribute to our underlying philosophy, that the emplacement data, as first observed, should be presented as primary documentary evidence to which nothing more can, or should, ever be added, by either further excavation or further reflection. The presentation of the data in a comapct disk version, as well as on paper, adds one more dimension to this concern for rapid and complete documentation.

The subtitle of the volume, The Field of Saleh al-Abrash, gives tribute to the owner of the field where our operation was conducted. He was looking to develop a cotton field; he got instead a prime archaeological field. What eluded his economic interest, served to bring out his generosity and graciousness. Far from confrontation, we found hospitality. Which we wish to return by dedicating to him this volume.

James L. Walker served as director of the excavations in this unit, and we owe it to him if the precision and accuracy of the record made it possible to consider the publication of OH2 one of the first ot achieve the status of a proper digital book. This is well documented in a CD reproduced here as a model of these early embodiments of the UGR. John Lynch served as the assistant in the excavations.

To many other individuals go our thanks as well. The workmen, first: in particular, Abd el-Karim Hassan, of the village of Mozan, added to his well known skills as excavator those of a coordinator and facilitator.

Many among the staff of Mozan 11 contributed enthusiatically of their time and skills, to make this volume possible within the brief available time of three weeks. Their names appear with every pertinent entry in the record, but their contribution is singled out here. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati supervised the analysis of the objects, and provided her insights on the typological description of the sealings. Rick Hauser contributed the typological description of a figurine. Alice Frigerio, with the assistance of Hammade Hamza, provided the shape analysis of the ceramics. H‚lŠne Cooper, with the assistance of Muhammad Omo and Ahmad Hawwaz, provided the typological analysis of the ceramic wares. Marta Abbado and Jeanette Matovich drew all the objects and ceramic sherds, which were prepared for electronic publication by Michael Henderson, through his masterly handling of teh graphic software. Sophie Bonetti restored a beautiful simple ware bowl, and cleaned the seal impressions restoring them to an unsuspected clarity. Federico Buccellati guided us through the first stages of digital photography, implementing here for the first time a digital photography system which he had put togetehr prior to the excavation. Gabriele Croppi added his professional touch to our photographic documentation (available here only in black-and-white). Ibrahim Khellu and Sultan Sheikhmus contributed the data entry of several of the journal files.

Our gratitude goes, as always, to the Syrian authorities who are our official hosts, and are, at the same time, our esteemed colleagues with whom we eagerly exchange scholarly views. In particular, we wish to thank Dr. Sultan Muhesen, Director General of Antiquities and Museums; Dr. Adnan Bounni, Director of Excavations; Dr. Muhammad Kaddur, Director of Museums; Mr. Abd el-Mesiah Bakdou, Director of the Hassak Office of the Directorate General; and Mr. Ali Ali, our representative from Qamishli.

Our work on OH2 during the eleventh season at Mozan was made possible through the generous contribution of the following agencies: the National Geo~graphic Society, the Catholic Biblical Association, the S. H. Kress Foundation, the L. J. and M. L. Skaggs Foundation, Loyola-Marymount University, Syria Shell Petroleum Development B.V., and various donors.<br

See the Chronicle for a more detailed history of the excavations and the Overview for a more complete introduction.

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OH2 and the Urkesh Global Record

By C. Chaves Yates

OH2 was a successful prototype for digital publication. It was the first “book” to produced in a completely digital format. In 1998 at the end of the excavation season the global record was produced on a CD (see the Chronicle for a tour of the CD). The record included input files for the data, ceramic analysis, sections, drawings and templates such as are produced now. Text files were produced for the discursive analysis (that which is now presented to the left-hand side of the browser edition). The final result of the compilation of this data was a CD bearing the complete analysis of the excavations.
The excavation was preserved as a CD until 2011 when it was chosen to be adapted for the browser edition of the UGR. The continuity of file types and data recording methodology made the conversion fairly simple. The major discrepency was only in formatting and required simple alterations to be converted. There were some methodological differences from how excavations were conducted in 1998 and 2011 and those are explained elsewhere. Additional discursive analysis was added to fill in the left-hand side of the browser edition. This conversion clearly illustrates the continuity of the system and the ability to feasibly re-work the older materials into usable browser eiditons.

An overview of the Urkesh Global Record is given elsewhere.

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