Mesopotamian Lab


The Mesopotamian Lab houses the data from over thirty years of excavations at two sites in Syria and is directed by Giorgio Buccellati, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Dr. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, Research Associate.  Currently we are working on the material from ancient Urkesh/Tell Mozan, an important Hurrian city located in northeastern Syria. Urkesh was a major political and religious center of the Hurrians, and our excavations have shown that they had developed a strong urban civilization over 5,000 years ago. 

Although the excavations temporarily stopped with the onset of the recent conflicts in 2011, we continue to work at the site to maintain the conservation of the site and to process the ceramics that had remained unanalyzed.  Our public archaeology work has been recognized by a number of awards in the USA (the World Monument Fund in 2006, the Archaeological Institute of America in 2011, and a Scholar in Residence grant from the Getty Conservation Institute for 2924), China (the Academy of Social Sciences in 2017) and Europe (ILUCIDARE in 2020, the Balzan prize in 2021,  and the European Association of Archaeologts in 2022).

We also have a vibrant program which teaches locals and schoolchildren from across Syria about the history of the area and the importance of archaeology. We also connect students in Syria with students in other countries to share with each other their cultural heritage (AVASA). Projects in the lab include digitizing paper and photographic archives from the excavations at Terqa and Urkesh. This is part of a distinctive approach to digital publishing, which has been recently recognized by the award of the prestigious Balzan prize (Cybernetica Mesopotamica)


 archaeology students at Mozan