HISTORY OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL
The site of Mishrifeh has been visited and surveyed since the middle of the 19th century by travellers and renowned scholars like the Jesuit Sébastien Ronzevalle, Charles Clérmont-Ganneau and the arabist Max Van Berchem.
Systematic excavations began in 1924 under the direction of the Count Robert Du Mesnil du Buisson (1895-1986) for a total of four seasons (1924, 1927-1929). The results of these works were published yearly in several scientific French journals including the Comptes rendus de séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and, especially, Syria, then the official publication of the Service of Antiquities, located in Beirut during the French mandate.
The extant documentation has allowed us to identify at least 12 sites of excavation, which represent the entire archaeological activity of the Count Du Mesnil du Buisson during these four seasons.
Actually, the results of these campaigns were extremely positive, for they yielded sub-stantial information on several occupational phases of the site, with a special focus on the settlement’s architectural development during the 2nd millennium BC.
The final publication of the excavations on the so-called Mound of the Church (Butte de l’Église) in the north section of the acropolis, published in Paris in 1935, offered a body of data about a second millennium Syrian palace which at the time was unique. Later reanalysis of the palace’s plan and architecture allows us to consider it the most important palatial structure of Western Syria.
The importance of the site was confirmed some years later by the discovery and translation of the royal archives of Mari by G. Dossin. His article entitled «Le royaume de Qatna au XVIIIe siècle avant notre ère d’après les ‘Archives royales de Mari’», published in 1954 in the Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences Morales et Politiques de l’Académie Royale de Belgique, is still today a major contribution to the knowledge of the site.
The reopening of systematic excavations in 1994 by the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums marks the beginning of a second phase of investigations in the site.
Archaeological research was concentrated on the region at the foot of the acropolis with the aim of integrating the first investigations carried out at the site and laying the basis for a new archaeological project, which started in 1999 and involved a joint Syrian-Italian-German Mission, co-directed by Michel Al-Maqdissi (DGAM), Daniele Morandi Bonacossi (University of Udine) and Peter Pfälzner (University of Tübingen). Since 2004 three archaeological teams work in Mishrifeh: a Syrian mission, a Syrian-Italian expedition and a Syrian-German mission.