Home
Introduction
Narrative
Database

Texts

eLibrary

Audio-visuals
Indices

General introduction

Giorgio Buccellati – January 2010

Foreword
The archaeological site
Methodological significance
The website
Publication program
Wider dissemination
Authorship
Acknowledgments


Foreword

     This website, currently under construction, is devoted to the excavations carried out at Terqa by a Joint American Expedition between 1976 and 1986.
     The first phase of the website project was started in the fall of 2009, with a grant from the Committee on Research of the UCLA Academic Senate for the academic year 2009-10. The website is accessible through password only while it remains under construction. Once completed, it will open for free public access.
     A grant application for the second phase (2010-11) is pending. This will concentrate especially on the Narrative and the Graphic Data Base.
Back to top

The archaeological site

     Terqa is today a medium size mound on the banks of the Euphrates in southeastern Syria, about 60 kms north of the Iraqi border. It was an important province of the kingdom of Mari in the third millennium and down to the conquest of Mari by Hammurapi of Babylon. Its history has been revealed by both the excavations and a number of texts found in the capital's royal archives.
     Thereafter, Terqa became the capital of a reduced version of what had been the kingdom of Mari, a territory known as Khana, a term that recurs in the royal titulary of the kings of Terqa.
     Throughout Mari's history, its peasant population developed a new economic base by harnessing the resources of the steppe to support a new type of pastoralist culture. Terqa was an important gateway to the steppe, and as its power began to wane in the latter part of the second millennium, its range if influence and control shifted to the west, where it survived as the kingdom of Amurru.
Back to top

Methodological significance

     Besides the important substantive results that the excavations produced, there were also significant methodological firsts associated with our project. In particular, it was at Terqa that computers were first introduced to archaeology in Syria. And perhaps the first electronic publication of cuneiform texts was the one dedicated to the texts of Terqa.
     Several other methodological concerns characterized our ten years at Terqa, including the development of audio-visual presentations that anticipate the multimedia possibilities of the computer and preliminary efforts at offering a meaningful fruition of the site to visitor.
Back to top

The website

     In this respect, the website serves as a historical repository of work that, by now, would otherwise be inaccessible. In spite of being, obviously, totally out of date as to the mechanics that were used at the time, the intellectual springboard from which these early attempts grew deserves to be documented. And, in fact, brought back to life thanks to the new electronic devices, these products, which are by now thirty years old, acquire a new life and substantive validity.
     Thus the website aims to provide as much a record of the finds made during our tenure at Terqa as an insight into an interesting chapter in the history of archaeology – shedding light on the transition from a fully analogical to a digital age.
     The authorial responsibility for each page is indicated in the masthead of each page, below the page title, along with the date.
     In the table below one will find the names of the editorial staff of the website:

Editor Giorgio Buccellati basic concept, overall design, writing of text portions
Assistant
Editors
Christine Hoang (2009-10)
Tatevik Mirzakhanyan (2011-)
implementation of individual pages, coordination of work on HTML pages, supervision of scanning
Audio-visuals Ann Tsueng reviewing of original audio and graphic films, production of transcripts
Graphic database:
Texts
Barbara Cifola coordination of texts and images
Webmaster Fanxi Xu supervision of work on server
Back to top

Publications program

     An extensive publication program was undertaken during the tenure of the project (1976-198      6). It is fully given online within the present website's Electronic Library.
     The material that remained to be published is currently in preparation, thanks to a grant from the White-Levy Program of Harvard University. One volume (TFR 2), devoted to the cuneiform tablets from seasons 5 to 9, has appeared in 2011. Another (TFR 3), devoted to small finds, will appear in 2012.
Back to top

Wider dissemination

     As part of a wider outreach, we produced "Folios" that aimed to present the data in atractive graphic formats – not as easy to produce in pre-digital days...
     We also printed a set of greeting cards, that highlighted some of the charcateristic items from the excavations, with "thoughtful" description that aimed at providing information even within this particular medium. Back to top

Authorship

Back to top

Acknowledgments

Website
     COR
Excavations
     Kress
     AICF
     UCLA Chancelor
Publications
     White-Levy
Back to top