Italian archaeologist returns to Syria’s Ebla after 12 years – Lifestyle

By Silvia Lambertucci (ANSA) – Rome, September 3rd – Trenches dug between temple ruins, pillboxes placed within walls thousands of years old, probably unexploded mines thrown – Italy The ancient city of Ebla discovered by archaeologists Paolo Matiae in 1964 endured years of devastation while being occupied by al Qaeda rebel militias.

However, after its liberation by the Damascus government, the Ebla Archaeological Park should be made safe to resume excavation of what is recognized as a global archaeological legend, the most important discovery of the late 20th century. is now possible. .

The good news was revealed to ANSA by the renowned archaeologist himself, Honorary Director of the Research Project. He will be awarded the Comunicazione dell’Antico (Communication in Ancient Times) on Saturday night. The project was jointly organized by Naxos Park. with Naxoledge.

Archaeologists at La Sapienza University in Rome have revealed that some members of the Italian mission will return to the ruins of Tell Mardik, 55 kilometers south of Aleppo, for the first time since 2010.

They will secure 47 years of uninterrupted drilling work and resume work that was interrupted 12 years ago.

“With adequate funding, it will take at least three years to restore the work site,” Matthiae said, asking La Sapienza and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure “all the necessary funding allocations.” .

Ebla’s devastation began in 2014 when al-Qaeda militias took control of the archaeological park, ravaging it with tunnels, trenches and pill crates. It was built between 2500 and 1600 BC,” he explained.

It was not until the end of 2019 that the Damascus government gradually regained control of the area, and since then officials of the Directorate General of Archaeological Museums (DGAM) have been examining and documenting the damage and what was once in the ancient Near East. Use drones to photograph the large oval that delineates what was once one of the most powerful and prosperous city-states.

“The good news is that the archaeological park was not bombed,” said the 80-year-old archaeologist.

However, the devastation is significant, and for this reason the Roman mission plans what is defined as the ‘restoration’ of the archaeological area.

A few days later, two La Sapienza professors, Francis Pinnock and Davide Nadali, arrive on the scene with Matiae on a mission to begin research on the material protected at the Hama Museum.

This is a small first step in the hope that we will be able to build a larger team and reopen the site where 120 local workers have worked in the past.

As powerful as Sargon’s Akkad, feared and revered by the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom, Ebla of Syria remained a mystery for thousands of years.

The find was one of history-changing, especially since excavations from 1975 uncovered the Ebla tablet intact. Nearly all of the royal archives date back to 2350 B.C.E., the oldest, containing 17,000 items of his inventory in cuneiform tablets in clay. The script is a treasure trove of immeasurable value regarding the city’s culture, language, trade, weddings, justice, and relations between friendly and enemy nations.

Initially there were 5,000 texts, most of which the Italian mission cataloged, researched and published during the years it was away from Syria.

They tell the story of a powerful and feared empire based in a key region between Mesopotamia and Egypt.

The city was destroyed and rebuilt three times in 900 years.

The walls encompassed an area of ​​50 hectares, slightly smaller than Pompeii many centuries later, and consisted of palaces, temples, tombs and fortifications.

Above all, the rediscovery of Ebla has given Syria a very old historical identity to be proud of.

“It’s still an archaeological site with a lot of potential,” emphasized Matthiae, noting that it’s estimated that only 10% of it has been excavated.

In fact, during the several years of suspended activity in the field, the University of Rome devoted itself to the study and publication of the vast amount of cuneiform texts and archaeological material from them. Nothing like Pharaoh was found even in the rich tombs of Egypt.

But concerns remain about the fate of many of these great finds, including thousands of tablets kept in a museum near Idlib, which is occupied by Turkish forces.

Violent looting took place there.

“I’m pretty sure at least some of the tablets were stolen or destroyed,” Matthiae said.

Fortunately, all of these treasures have been photographed and cataloged, and the documents are already in Interpol’s hands.

With a little luck, some tablets may reappear on the antique market.

“The important thing is that after years of silence and destruction, a new beginning for Evra has begun,” Mattiae said. (ANSA). Italian archaeologist returns to Syria’s Ebla after 12 years – Lifestyle

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