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The early state and its chora. Towns, villages and landscape at Ebla in Syria during the 3rd Millennium BC. Royal archives, visual and material culture, remote sensing and artificial neural networks

Objective

The case of Ebla in northern Syria is certainly the most favourable one for enhancing our understanding of mechanisms of functioning of the early state. The discovery in 1975 of royal archives consisting of 17.000 cuneiform tablets dating to c. 2300 BC has supplied the scientific community with an invaluable mass of documents dealing with all aspects of state organization. These tablets inform us about the political, diplomatic and military affairs of the Eblaite state, as well as on the economic and social fabric of this early state formation. Further, considerable progresses during the past decade have been made at Ebla in seriating material culture assemblages, in interpreting the rich evidence for ancient visual communication and in exposing the urban structure. We now foresee a unique opportunity to test theories and models about the rise and structure of the early state by expanding the level of analysis to the landscape around Ebla: archaeological surface surveys, remote sensing, geomorphological studies will be evaluated together with the results of archaeological and geophysic investigations on village sites. Our research group has already considerable experience in developing calculation programs that employ along with traditional statistic and quantitative methods within a web GIS environment, including all the cuneiform tablets models of modern dynamic mathematics: the massive amount of data obtained from excavations, surveys, epigraphic studies, archeometric and archeobiological analyses will be combined and analyzed by means of mathematical, economical and computer science concepts and models, in order to build a multi-tier explanatory pattern which can be applied also to other early foci of urbanization in the Near East and elsewhere. We thus hope to gain a much richer historical framework and a sophisticated predictive model of general validity: until now no studies have ever focused on explanations of these phenomena on such an integrated scale

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-AdG
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Host institution

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ROMA LA SAPIENZA
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Roma
Italy

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Gilda Bartoloni (Prof.)
Principal investigator
Paolo Matthiae (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 779 383

Beneficiaries (2)

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ROMA LA SAPIENZA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 779 383
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Roma

See on map

Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Gilda Bartoloni (Prof.)
Principal investigator
Paolo Matthiae (Prof.)
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 325 857
Address
Via Zamboni 33
40126 Bologna

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Verdiana Bandini (Ms.)