1: G. Buccellati, November 2002

The National Geographic Society

     The hallmark of archaeology is the global scope of its inquiry. It is of course true that the act of excavation as such is at the center of attention. But every time we dislodge a fragment of the depositional mass into which the cultural remains are now embedded, we invoke a vast web of untold relationships. Like a myriad tendrils that lead in ever new directions, they claim our attention, our diverse and specialized skills. Hence an archaeo­logical dig is home to the most disparate array of interests, talents and equipment.
     Such is the context that ultimately contributes the most to a proper understanding of each minute fragment we recover from the soil. And such is the scope that the National Geo­gra­phic Society embodies in its charter, and puts to us as a challenge. More than a code word, “Exploration” expresses the urge that unifies the vision.
     In keeping with this call, we recompose bodies that have laid still for millen­nia, we enter rooms long since aban­doned, we touch the artifacts that once enjoyed the touching, we view the same landscape they did once view. Explor­ation puts us in touch with the stimuli that did once cause, as they still do, wonder in all of us, humans across time.

      National Geo­graphic is a signpost on the map of modern culture. It embodies at its best the American genius for sharing widely what in other cultures is reserved and elitist. Our work at Urkesh is touched by this very spirit, insp­ired by these very goals.