1: G. Buccellati, January 2003


     The ongoing concern during excavation is to understand the complexity and the intricacy of the stratigraphic universe and the typological inventory. The ultimate goal is to translate such understanding into an ordered conceptual universe, and to construct our own mirror image of the reality in the ground.

     This is stratigraphy. We transform a mound of dirt into a mound of computer bits that can in turn be translated into analogical constructs, whether on the screen or on paper. Hence it is that stratigraphic analysis is the hallmark of our work – that which no one else but an archaeologist is trained to do.

     The only comparable case is geology. But here, at an archaeological site like Mozan, each speck of dirt echoes humanity. Because each was in some way touched, and often fashioned, by human hands. We touch, in turn, the travail that made it possible. And we can place each little element in a sequence that gives it meaning anew.

     Each step in space leads to a walk in time.

Very concrete because of its total immersion in the ground
and its unremitting confrontation with physical matter
the attention of the archaeologist is guided nevertheless
by highly abstract and fundamental principles.

This section explores specific applications of these principles
as exemplified by our work at Mozan
with regard to both emplacement and deposition.

It is out of these cnsiderations that a proper stratigraphic assessment can emerge,
of which, as well, specific examples are provided.