Cybernetica Mesopotamica

A Balzan Foundation Research Project

I. The Project

The logo

Giorgio Buccellati – July 2022

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A tablet

     Before excavations, an archeological site is nothing more than a hill (a tell), altogether mute as to any potential glorious history hidden under its slopes.
     How can one bring this history back to light – to life?
     That is the question at the center of our research project.
     It is a theme we have highlighted in our logo.
     A tablet is a tablet is a tablet.
     But, as a thing found, it has no meaning until it is interpreted and reinserted in our live stream of consciousness.
From the tablet
found and observed
To the tablet
read and understood

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A staircase

     The same applies to a monument that seemingly needs no interpretation: anybody can identify this as a staircase.
     And yet...
     There are multiple layers of meaning that remain hidden to the casual observer, and these we can only recover with an in depth analysis.
     It is an analysis that only the archaeologist can undertake.
     And it is only then that one can come to a full fruition of the monument.
     It is indeed a staircase, but one endowed with a wholly new meaning.

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A worldwide web B.C.

     There is one more, and deeper, layer of meanign to our logo.
     The tablet in our logo was a school tablet, used by a young pupil some 4300 years ago: a lexical list from the standard Sumerian repertory.
LU E list 1
     The same sequence is found at two other sites in southern Iraq and western Syria, from about the same time period – a wide ranging linkage that looks like an early premonition of our "world wide web (www)."
LU E list 2
     Having finished his last line on the front of the tablet, the young apprentice scribe started doodling on the back, impressing wedges at random.
LU E list reverse

We like to see a kinship between this ancient Urkesh student
and the group of young collaborators who are working with us
on the Balzan Cybernetica Mesopotamica project.

The tablet is A1j1 from Urkesh