IIMAS Research Associates

Mary Stancavage

     I have had the great good fortune to excavate both at Terqa (Tell Ashara) and Urkesh (Tell Mozan).     I was at Terqa as a UCLA graduate student in the early 80's. It was an interesting site, but the challenges we encountered made excavations quite difficult. There were meters of Islamic era deposition, the Euphrates River was eroding the site, and the modern village of Ashara sat atop the tell. I worked in the field, eventually as a Supervisor in Area J, and as Registrar for each of the three seasons I was there. Because the site was disturbed in many ways, deciphering the stratigraphy was difficult and could lead to what we called "stratigraphic headaches". However, I developed a deep interest in stratigraphy and piecing together the puzzle that archaeology offers.
     Most recently I contributed an article to the forthcoming Terqa Final Reports 3 (TFR 3), about the beads that were uncovered at Terqa. The majority (almost 7,000) came from a cache uncovered in the Temple of Ninkarrak and were quite interesting in that they seemed to have been left rather than buried or part of an installation. I have also help to ready TFR3 for publication.

     Although I did not work Tell Mozan until 2001, I first visited the site in 1983 when we did a simple survey of sites in northeastern Syria. In 2001, I was Registrar but also had the large job of preparing years' worth of finds to send to the museum in Deir ez-Zor. I photographed dozens of pots, cups, vessels and other ceramic items and made sure these and other finds were drawn and documented before being sent off. It was a quick tour of the history of Urkesh and artifacts through the millennia. I came back to Tell Mozan for the next six years as an excavator and worked on the Global Record.


     In the following years, I worked as an assistant in A12, the Abi, and then as Unit Director in A15, adjacent to the palace, and A17 which was mostly Mittani. I moved then to J1 which was the area of the Plaza that is immediately adjacent to the Large Temple Terrace, near its western bend and spent two years in that unit. As in Terqa, deciphering the stratigraphy and recreating the sequence of building could be the most challenging, yet exciting task. Input into the UGR (Urkesh Global Record) was an important and necessary part of the project and aid in the sequencing of the site.

     Moving forward, I will be working on the materials at the Mesopotamian Lab at UCLA and oversee the organization of the archive. This is in function of planned publications for both Terqa and Urkesh which I will help edit. Additionally, I will work on the publications of the UGR for A15.

      See Mary Stancavage's cv on the Urkesh website.