Sunday, April 14, 2019

EblaChora: An early state in Syria and its landscape

Ebla is certainly one of the most favorable cases for enhancing our understanding of mechanisms of functioning of an early state. At this site in northern Syria, the discovery in 1975 of royal archives consisting of 17.000 cuneiform tablets dating to c. 2300 BC has supplied the scientific community with an invaluable mass of documents dealing with all aspects of state organization. Considerable progresses during the past two decades have been made at Ebla in seriating material culture assemblages, in interpreting the rich evidence retrieved for ancient visual communication and in exposing (until 2010) the urban structure of that period.
An opportunity to test theories and models about the rise and structure of the early state by expanding the level of analysis to the landscape around a gateway site has been envisaged within the Ebla Chora Project (ECP, which was funded by an ERC Advanced Grant), with the aim of building a multi-tier explanatory pattern which can be applied to, or utilized for, other early foci of urbanization in the Near East or elsewhere. Since the 1960s onwards, a series of surface surveys has provided a basis for a detailed study of the landscape around Ebla and this has now been coupled with sophisticated remote sensing analyses (also using historical maps and aerial imagery of an environment which has since significantly changed).

The current website – actually a work in progress – presents in a scientifically complete fashion the elaborations and studies carried out for characterizing the chora of ancient Ebla, supplying the scholarly community with an elaborate tool of unprecedented precision. We will continue updating the website,branching from the OrientGIS project, not only with new layers but also through galleries of images and other data useful for the characterization of the 3rd millennium BC landscape in the Ebla region.

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