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Inclusive Archaeology describes an approach based on an integration of views, techniques and methods. Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and hybridization become part of an anthropological perspective in which archaeology is seen as fully integrated within the broader frame of social sciences. Science accepts that different disciplines do not contribute to historical and behavioral explanations simply by an accumulation of knowledge, but also contaminating each other through shared objectives and views. At the same time, science acknowledges multiculturality, meaning specific values and approaches elaborated outside the Western world.
There is no truth in science, but only doubts and (new) questions. Social sciences may be deemed scientific when they allow the possibility of verifying each intellectual process at each step.
Inclusive Archaeology is based on openness, towards local and regional communities (science does not live in isolation but has an impact on and needs feedback from those communities), towards the scientific community (dissemination of newly produced data is the core mission of scientists), towards the global community (digital technologies must be used to build new forms of integrated datasets which may be used freely through the web). [NM]
The case of Ebla in northern Syria is certainly one of the most favourable ones 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. Further, considerable progresses during the past decade have been made at Ebla in seriating material culture assemblages, in interpreting the rich evidence retrieved for ancient visual communication and in exposing the urban structure of that period. 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 is currently being envisaged within the Ebla Chora Project (ECP), with the aim of building a multi-tier explanatory pattern which can be applied to, or utilized for, other early foci of urbanization in the Near East or elsewhere.
The Joint Expedition is directed by Nicolò Marchetti (Bologna University), with Hasan Peker (Istanbul University) as deputy director. The founding Universities of the project are those of Bologna, Gaziantep and Istanbul, while the main scientific partnerships are with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism (General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums, Gaziantep Conservation Committee and Gaziantep Archaeological Museum) and the Universities of Gazi and Nevşehir. Technical partnerships are active with Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, Gaziantep Governate, Gaziantep Special Provincial Administration, Şahinbey Municipality, Karkamış Municipality and Karkamış Local Governate. Financial sponsors for the project are the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Italian Ministry for Education, Universities and Research and the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, with contributions also by the Kaplan Fund and the Global Heritage Fund.