Cybernetica Mesopotamica

A Balzan Foundation Research Project

IV. Work in Progress

Beola 5
September 11-15, 2023

Marco De Pietri – September 2023

The landscape from Beola, looking at the mountains (with Tell Mozan always in mind)

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After the workshop “Beola 3“, and the later workshops “Beola 4a-d“, a substantial group of “Mozanian” scholars gathered again in Beola for a workshop which is considered both the continuation and an update on the efforts developed specifically in the last-year workshop “Beola 2” (September 5–12, 2022).

Collaborators, and friends, part of the extended family of Urkesh, reached Beola to work together (under the guidance of Prof. Giorgio Buccellati, Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, and Prof. Federico Buccellati) either to reinforce their commitment to the project and to strengthen their “team networking” attitude, which represents indeed a peculiarity of this rich project (under both a scientific and human milieu).

Some of them were physically present in Beola (coming from Syria, the USA, and other Italian regions), while other collaborators were connected online on ZOOM from Germany and other cities in Italy.

It was indeed an effective example of the overarching spirit of the Cybernetica Mesopotamica project which aims at contributing to both the scholarly research and the public outreach of the results gained through the project itself.

Also this year, the team was honored with the visit of the Balzan Fundation’s representatives, Prof. Peter Kuon and his wife, who joined two of the working sessions of the team.

Thanks to the online medium, even people from Mozan were “virtually” a significat presence in Beola, since the team was pleased to talk to their Syrian colleagues still intensively working on the site granting, through their inexhaustible monitoring, its full preservation and constant conservation.

The daily work of the team was divided into a morning session (9:00 AM to 1:00 PM) and an afternoon session (3:00 PM to 7:00/7:30 PM).

The sessions were also divided into two distinct categories:

  • “general sessions”, with discussions on theoretical aspects and individual presentations about works in progress;
  • “workshop sessions”, involving different smaller groups, devoted to practical applications or technical clarifications about the programs.

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The following members were able to attend the workshop in person: Prof. Giorgio Buccellati; Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati; Prof. Federico Buccellati; Lorenzo Crescioli; Marco De Pietri; Bernardo Forni; Samer Abdel-Ghafour; Arwa Kharobi; Jonah Lynch; Yasmine Mahmoud; Laerke Recht; Jessica Scaciga; Mary Stancavage; James Walker.

Attending the workshop from remote was also granted to other members, unable to attend the workshop in person: Amer Ahmad; Sarah Comelli; Stefania Ermidoro; John Hayes; Hiba Qassar.

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You can find at this link the PDF version of the preliminary program with the schedule of the meetings within the workshop/seminar “Beola 5”.

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Main goals

This workshop had basically two main twofold goals:

  1. to have a full update about the work conducted by the team in the previous year;
  2. to share theoretical thoughts, overview knowledge, and technical skills to better develop and bring to full accomplishment the many websites represented in the huge cluster of the Cybernetica Mesopotamica hub.

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Major achievements

The major achievements of this workshop can be briefly outlined in the following points (further and even more technical details are in the reports):

  1. strengthening (even more than in the past) the ties leading the team to achieve an actual and effective “team working”;
  2. bearing to a roughly partial completion some websites of the UGR (the Urkesh Global Record);
  3. the new MID program written by Bernardo Forni has become more acquainted with the collaborators writing websites, both unit and topical books;
  4. the input of data for the left-hand side of the unit and topical books is now easier thanks to the conversion of the books into MID which also allows to focus more on the content and less on the data input, bearing a significant time-saving and implementing the quality of the information in the websites;
  5. the “4banks” websites (accessible here) have been also converted into MID and are going to be further implemented, also thanks to a new program for the visual display of data elaborated by Jonah Lynch (the MNI program);
  6. to develop the concept of “digital discourse” whose results will end in both a website and a printed volume.

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Public outreach

On Thursday, September 14, at 8:30 PM, Prof. Giorgio Buccellati, Prof. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, and Prof. Federico Buccellati gave a conference in Baceno, to present to the wider local public the main goals and results of the project.

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The report of this workshop can be found at the following link.

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Many useful tools are accessible just to the staff can be found on the page “Reserved for Staff“.

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My Key Map Itineraries

Here you can find the “My Key Map Itineraries Guide” by Michele Scaciga. Further details are at the following link.

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Next workshop

The next formal, scheduled workshop (labeled “Beola 6“), including the whole team (besides other more limited meetings that could be taken in the meantime) is expected to take place during September 8-15, 2024.

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