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International Conference

University of Udine, Italy
December 9-11, 2004
Sala Convegni - Palazzo Antonini - Via T. Petracco, 8 - Udine

Among the first areas of ancient Syria to be archaeologically investigated by the pioneering expeditions of R. Du Mesnil du Buisson at Mishrifeh and other sites, M. Pézard at Tell Nebi Mend and the Danish Mission at Hama, Central Syria (the provinces of Hama and Homs) has been strongly neglected by scholarly research in the period after the 1920's and 1930's.
As a matter of fact, the construction of the great hydraulic works at the Tabqa, Tishrin, and Khabur dams determined a massive exodus of field archaeologists to the Syrian Jezireh. As a consequence of this, little was known on the archaeology and ancient environment of Central Syria. Only from the 1990's onwards, after the accomplishment of the Euphrates and Khabur dams, the region has become again a main focus of scholarly research.

However, notwithstanding the resumption of archaeological exploration by new field projects, the settlement landscapes and the ancient environment of this region and its evolution during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene as a consequence of natural changes and human activity are still rather obscure.

The conference and its objectives

The international conference will address these and other issues first of all within the framework of a selected region of Central Inner Syria, that of Tell Mishrifeh, ancient Qatna, where an interdisciplinary joint Syrian-Italian-German project is active, and, in a second stage, in the wider regional context of Central-Western Syria.
The aim of the conference is that of gathering around the same table all the scholars -archaeologists and environmental scientists- cooperating with the international project at the reconstruction of the ancient settlement (urban and rural) and natural environments of Mishrifeh and its region and the colleagues working in adjacent areas.

The contributors are invited to present their data (archaeological, geo-archaeological, palynological, archaeobotanical, archaeozoological, anthropological etc.) with the goal of sketching a first general reconstruction of the settlement and natural environments of Mishrifeh and its region from the Late Pleistocene to the Late Holocene.
Discussed topics will encompass the archaeological and environmental setting of Mishrifeh (vegetation, fauna, hydrology, water and other resources) and its interaction with human activities and subsistence strategies as mirrored by settlement systems, urbanisation, land use and water management.

In order to place the data from Mishrifeh within the wider context of Central Syria, colleagues working on the same topics in adjacent regions are also invited to offer their contribution on the coastal area, the Orontes valley and the steppe, with the aim of developing a general reconstruction of settlement and environment in the broader region included between the Mediterranean coast and the semi-arid steppe of the Shamiyah.

Finally, also the textual evidence will be considered. A reconstruction of the environment of this vast region and its shaping by human settlement and subsistence activities on the grounds of the cuneiform evidence - especially from the Mari archives - will be crucial.


Thursday, Dec. 9
Morning Session

09.30 Opening of the Conference
Furio HONSELL (Rector of the University of Udine)
Arnaldo MARCONE (Director of the Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Udine)
Simonetta PONCHIA (Co-ordinator of the scientific co-operation agreement between the Universities of Udine and Verona, University of Verona)
Tammam FAKOUCH (Director General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria, Damascus)
09.50 Introduction to the Conference
Daniele Morandi Bonacossi (University of Udine)

The Archaeology of Tell Mishrifeh and its Region

Chairman Tammam Fakouch

10.00-10.30 Michel AL-MAQDISSI (Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Damascus) D'Amurru à Qatna. Quelques idées des axes de communication
10.30-11.00 Peter Pfälzner (University of Tübingen)The Archaeology of the Royal Palace of Qatna

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

Chairman Bernard GEYER

11.30-12.00 Mirko Novák (University of Tübingen) The Morphology of the Ground and the Foundation of the Royal Palace - Some Technical Approaches
12.00-12.30 Marta Luciani (University of Vienna) Qatna in the Late Bronze Age
12.30-13.00 Daniele Morandi Bonacossi (University of Udine) Tell Mishrifeh and its Countryside During the Bronze and Iron Ages. A Preliminary Reconstruction

13.00-15.00 Lunch break

Thursday, Dec. 9
Afternoon Session

The environment of Tell Mishrifeh and its region

Jean-Paul Thalmann

Mauro CREMASCHI (University of Milan
) The Geoarchaeology of Tell Mishrifeh. From Site to Landscape
15.30-16.00 Luca Trombino (University of Milan) A Micromorphological Approach for the Reconstruction of the Palaeoenvironment of Tell Mishrifeh
16.00-16.30 Christine Pümpin (University of Basel) Preliminary Micromorphological Analyses of the Soil in the Royal Tomb at Qatna

16.30-17.00 Coffee break

Chairman Corinne CASTEL

17.00-17.30 Mauro Cremaschi (University of Milan) - Verushka Valsecchi (University of Bern) Vegetation and Environment During the Middle-Late Holocene at Tell Mishrifeh. Climate Versus Land Use
17.30-18.00 Leonor Peña-Chocarro (University of Madrid) - Mauro Rottoli and Michela COTTINI (Archaeobiology Laboratory, Como Archaeological Museum)Agriculture and Plant Food at Tell Mishrifeh in the Bronze and Iron Ages. The Evidence from Operation J
18.00-18.30 Simone RIEHL (University of Tübingen) Environment and Economy in the North-Western Levant: First Archaeobotanical Results from Bronze and Iron Age Alalakh and Qatna

Friday, December 10
Morning Session


Otto CICHOCKI (University of Vienna) Actions and Reactions - A Complex Relationship to Climate
10.00-10.30 Emmanuelle VILA (Maison de l'Orient, CNRS, Lyon) Archéozoologie à Tell Mishrifé, quelques apports de la faune à l'environnement
10.30-11.00 Alessandro CANCI (University of Pisa) Troubled Times! Hard Work and Poor Nutrition of the Low Social Classes in Ancient Qatna Between the Middle Bronze Age and the Iron Age

Coffee break

Chairman Michel fortin

Carsten WITZEL - Kerstin KREUTZ (University of Giessen) First Results of the Anthropological and Palaeopathological Examination of the Human Bones from the Royal Grave of Qatna
12.00-12.30 Richard EVERSHED - Anna MUKHERJEE (University of Bristol) Plans and Prospects for Organic Residue Analysis at Qatna (Royal Tomb)
12.30-13.00 Lara MARITAN - Claudio MAZZOLI - Veronica MICHIELIN - Gianmario MOLIN (University of Padua) Provenance and Production Technology of Bronze and Iron Age Pottery from Tell Mishrifeh/Qatna (Syria)

13.00-15.00 Lunch break

Friday, Dec. 10

Afternoon Session

Settlement and landscape in Central-Western Syria:
the archaeological evidence


Jean-Paul THALMANN (Université de Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne) Bronze Age Settlement Patterns and Agriculture in the Akkar Plain
15.30-16.00 Graham PHILIP (University of Durham) Landscape Development in the Orontes Valley West of Homs: Natural and Cultural Aspects
16.00-16.30 Bernard GEYER (Maison de l'Orient, CNRS, Lyon) Occupation du sol et mise en valeur de la région au Nord-Est de Qatna à l'âge du Bronze

16.30-17.00 Coffee break


Corinne CASTEL (Maison de l'Orient, CNRS, Lyon) Stratégies de subsistance et modes d'occupation de l'espace dans la micro-région d'al-Rawda au Bronze ancien final (Shamiyeh)
17.30-18.00 Karin BARTL (German Archaeological Institute, Damascus) - Michel Al-Maqdissi (Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Damascus) Ancient Settlements in the Middle Orontes Region Between ar-Rastan and Qal'at Shaizar
18.00-18.30 Michel FORTIN (University of Laval, Québec) The Geoarchaeological Survey of the Tell 'Acharneh Depression to the South of the Ghab Valley

Saturday, December 11
Morning Session

Settlement and landscape in Central-Western Syria:
The textual evidence

Michel al-Maqdissi

Nele ZIEGLER (CNRS, Paris) Les données des archives royales de Mari sur le milieu naturel et l'occupation humaine en Syrie centrale
09.30-10.00 Cinzia PAPPI (University of Udine) The Religious Landscape of Qatna and Western Syria in the Mari Period
10.00-10.30 Jesper EIDEM (Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen) Notes on the Topography of Late Bronze Age Qatna
10.30-11.00 Thomas RICHTER (University of Frankfort) Qatna and Its Neighbours in the Late Bronze Age

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

Towards a general reconstruction


Summary of themes Mauro CREMASCHI: Mishrifeh and its Area. A Local Environmental PerspectiveBernard GEYER: Central-Western Syria. A Regional Environmental PerspectiveMichel AL-MAQDISSI: The Archaeology of Mishrifeh and its Region. Plans and ProspectsJesper EIDEM: Central-Western Syria. A Textual Perspective
12.30-13.00 General discussion

13.00-14.30 Lunch break

Saturday, Dec. 11
Afternoon 14.30-19.00 Visit to the Roman city of Aquileia
The Basilica with the mosaics, the Forum, the Port Area, and the Archaeological Museum (presentation by Marina RUBINICH, University of Udine)


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