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Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati is an American archaeologist (married to Giorgio Buccellati), who mostly focused her research on the Caucasus and ancient Syria (and specifically on the ancient Urkesh, modern Tell Mozan).
Archaeologist and Art Historian of the ancient Near East, specializing in Syro-Mesopotamia and the Caucasus in the third and second millennium B.C. She has excavated at Nippur in Iraq, Korucutepe in Turkey, Terqa in Syria where she was co-director from 1976-88.
At Urkesh/Mozan she was Director from 1983 to 2020. She organized surveys in Iraq, Syria and the Caucasus, and she has been a member of the Italian-Georgian excavations at Aradetis Orgora from 2013-2017 and at Lagodekhi from 2018.
Her focus has been partly on Stratigraphy (archaeology)|stratigraphy, ceramics from sites where she has excavated. She was able to identify the use of a large ancient pit excavated in Hurrian ritual shaft for rituals used in communicating with the Netherworld. She has written a number of publications on ancient Cylinder seal|cylinder seals and seal impression iconography.
Combining her interest in Stratigraphy (archaeology)|stratigraphy and iconography she worked on the many thousands of fragmented seal impressions found in the Mozan excavations so that she could determine the iconographic motifs they contained which embodied a new Hurrian style. Through her joint research with her husband, Giorgio Buccellati, they connected both the scenes and the seal inscriptions on these seal impressions giving them the ancient name of the site, Urkesh, and the names of several of the kings, queens, and servants of the royal court. The identification of the site of Hurrian city ruled by a local dynasty dating to the third millennium made it the Hurrian city known thus far. The reconstruction of the Urkesh iconography led to her research on the position and power of the royal Urkesh women.
She is retired from the Art Department of California State University Los Angeles where she taught ancient art and archaeology for 30 years. Presently she is an Associated Researcher of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at University of California, UCLA.
- 1974: PhD, The University of Chicago (Oriental Institute (Chicago)|The Oriental Institute): Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
- 1967: MA, The University of Chicago (Oriental Institute (Chicago)|The Oriental Institute): Oriental Languages and Civilizations
- 1961: BA, College of St. Elizabeth, New Jersey: History
Teaching and academic positions (reverse chronological order)
- 2020- Associated Researcher, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
- 2013-19 Visiting Professor, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
- 2010-12 Fellow, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
- 2007- Member Visiting Committee, Department of Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- 2003-10 Research Associate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
- 2003- Professor Emeritus, Department of Art, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1995 Visiting Scholar, Orientalisches Institut, University of Vienna (Austria)
- 1994 Visiting Scholar, Facoltà di Teologia di Lugano (Switzerland)
- 1993-94 Principal Advisor, Department of Art, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1990-98 Chair, Art History Option, Department of Art, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1983-03 Full Professor, Department of Art, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1978-83 Associate Professor, Department of Art, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1973-78 Assistant Professor, Department of Art, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1973- Trustee, IIMAS – The International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies
- 1971 “Professor Invitatus,” Oriental Faculty, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, Italy
- 1963-66 The University of Chicago
- 1964-65 Teaching Assistant, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, The University of Chicago
Archaeological field work (reverse chronological order)
- 2018- Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy
- 2013-17 Aradetis Orgora, Georgia, excavations of Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy
- 1983-20 Mozan/Urkesh (Director)
- 1990 Shidakartli, Georgia, survey
- 1976-88 Terqa (Co-Director)
- 1974 Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan): survey
- 1971 Dilbat Survey, Iraq
- 1968 Korucutepe, Turkey
- 1966-67 Nippur, Iraq
- 1966 Palmyrene Survey, Syria
Grants and awards (reverse chronological order)
- 2020 Europa Nostra ILUCIDARE prize
- 2019 Between Syria and the Highlands. Studies in Honor of Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly Buccellati
- 2017 Research Medal from the Shanghai Archaeological Forum
- 2013 Ahmanson Field Grants, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
- 1999 Sabbatical, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1997 (Spring) Creative Leave, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1994-95 Sabbatical, California State University, Los Angeles
- 1976-2020 Excavation grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, Catholic Biblical Association, Kress Foundation, Ahmanson Foundation, Skaggs Foundation, National Geographic Society, San Carlos Foundation.
- 1987-94 Principal Investigator, National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Research (RO-21543-87) for The Mozan Archaeological Project.
- 1987-88 Panelist for NEH to select grantees for Old World Archaeology.
Main publications (selection in reverse chronological order)
- 2020: “Continuity and Innovation at Urkesh in the ED III Period,” in M.E. Balza, P. Cotticelli-Kurras, L. d’Alfonso, M. Giorgieri, F. Giusfredi and A. Rizza (eds), Città e parole, argilla e pietra. Studi offerti a Clelia Mora da allievi, colleghi e amici, Biblioteca di Athenaeum 65, Bari: EDIPUGLIA, pp. 295-310.
- 2020: “Sifting or Not: Research on the Effectiveness of Sifting,” in Nadja Cholidis, Elisabeth Katzy and Sabina Kulemann-Ossen (eds), Zwischen Ausgrabung und Ausstellung, Beiträge zur Archäologie Vorderasiens. Festschrift für Lutz Martin, marru: Studien zur Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 9, Münster: Zaphon, pp. 259-266.
- 2020: “Archaeological Digital Narratives: The Case of Urkesh Ceramics,” in Alexander Ahrens, Dörte Rokitta-Krumnow, Franziska Bloch and Claudia Bührig (eds), Drawing the Threads Together, Studies on Archaeology in Honour of Karin Bartl, marru: Studien zur Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 10, Münster: Zaphon, pp. 379-398 (with Giorgio Buccellati).
- 2020: “The Urkesh Mittani Horizon: Ceramic Evidence,” in Michele Cammarosano et al. (eds), talugaesh wittesh. Ancient Near Eastern Studies presented to Stefano de Martino, Kasion. Publikationen zur ostmediterranen Antike/Publications on Eastern Mediterranean Antiquity 2, Münster: Zaphon, pp. 237-256.
- 2019: “Images of Work in Urkesh,” in Marta D’Andrea, Maria Gabriella Micale, Davide Nadali, Sara Pizzimenti and Agnese Vacca (eds), Pearls of the Past. Studies on Near Eastern Art and Archaeology in Honour of Frances Pinnock, marru, Studies in Near and Middle Eastern Archaeology 8, Münster: Zaphon, pp. 413-428
- 2019: “Urkesh Ceramic Evidence for Function,” in A. Pieńkowska, D. Szeląg and I. Zych (eds), Stories told around the fountain. Papers offered to Piotr Bieliński on the occasion of his 70th birthday, Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press; PCMA UW., pp. 285-304.
- 2019: “Emulation as a Strategy of Urkesh Potters and its Long Term Consequences,” Sh. N. Amirov (ed.), Caucasian Mountains and Mesopotamian Steppe. Festschrift for R. M. Munchaev, Moscow: ИАРАН, pp. 355-61.
- 2018: “Urkesh Insights into Kura-Araxes Social Interaction” in Atilla Batmaz, Giorgi Bedianashvili, Aleksandra Michalewicz and Abby Robinson (eds), Context and Connection: Essays on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of Antonio Sagona, Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta 268, Leuven, Paris, Bristol (CT): Peeters, pp. 107-123.
- 2016: Georgia Paese d’oro e di fede. Identità e alterità nella storia di un popolo, Firenze: Società editrice fiorentina, 128 pp.
- 2016: “Urkesh: The Morphology and Cultural Landscape of the Hurrian Sacred,” in Paolo Matthiae (ed.), L’Archeologia del sacro e l’archeologia del culto, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei: Atti dei convegni Lincei 304, Roma: Bardi Edizioni, pp. 99-113.
- 2016: “Women's Power and Work in Ancient Urkesh” in S.L. Budin and J.M. Turfa (eds), Women in Antiquity: Real Women across the Ancient World, London, New York: Routledge, pp. 48-63.
- 2016: “The Urkesh Ceramics Digital Book,” in Paola Corò et al. (eds), Libiamo ne’ lieti calici. Ancient Near Eastern Studies Presented to Lucio Milano on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday by Pupils, Colleagues and Friends, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, pp. 721-734.
- 2015: “Power and Identity Construction in Ancient Urkesh,” in Paola Ciafardoni and Deborah Giannessi (eds), From the Treasures of Syria. Essays on Art and Archaeology in Honour of Stefania Mazzoni, Leiden: Nederlands Inst. voor het Nabije Oosten, pp. 111-130.
- 2013: “Landscape and Spatial Organization: An Essay on Early Urban Settlement Patterns in Urkesh,” in Dominik Bonatz and Lutz Martin (eds), 100 Jahre archäologische Feldforschungen in Nordost-Syrien – Eine Bilanz, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 149-166.
- 2012: “Apprenticeship and Learning from the Ancestors: The Case of Ancient Urkesh,” in Willeke Wendrich (ed.), Archaeology and Apprenticeship: Body Knowledge, Identity, and Communities of Practice, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, pp. 203-223.
- 2010: “Mozan/Urkesh in the Late Chalcolithic Period,” in Jörg Becker, Ralph Hempelmann, and Ellen Rehm (eds), Kulturlandschaft Syrien: Zentrum und Peripherie. Festschrift für Jan-Waalke Meyer, Alter Orient und Alten Testament 371, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, pp. 87-121.
- 2009: “Uqnitum and Tar’am-Agade, Patronage and Portraiture at Urkesh,” in J.C. Finke (ed.), Festschrift für Gernot Wilhelm anläßlich seines 65. Geburtstagesam 28. Januar 2010, Dresden: ISLET, pp. 185-202.
- 2006: “Gilgamesh at Urkesh? Literary Motifs and Iconographic Identifications,” in P. Butterlin, M. Lebeau, J.-Y. Montchambert, J. L. Mntero Fenollós and B. Muller (eds), Les Espaces Syro-Mésopotamiens. Dimensions de l’experience humaine au Proche-Orient ancient. Volume d’hommage offert à Jean-Claude Margueron, Subartu 17, Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 403-414.
- 2005: “Urkesh and the North: Recent Discoveries,” Studies on the Civilization and Culture of Nuzi and the Hurrians 15, Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, pp. 29-40.
- 2004: “Andirons at Urkesh: New Evidence for the Hurrian Identity of Early Transcaucasian Culture,” in A. Sagona (ed.), A View from the Highlands: Archaeological Studies in Honour of Charles Burney, ANES Supplemet 2, Herent: Peeters, pp. 67-89.
- 2003: “Ein hurritischer Gang in die Unterwelt,” Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 134, pp. 131-148.
- 2002: “Tar’am-Agade, Daughter of Naram-Sin, at Urkesh,” in L. Al-Gailani, J. Curtis, H. Martin, A. McMahon, J. Oates and J. Reade (eds), Of Pots and Plans. Papers on the Archaeology and History of Mesopotamia and Syria presented to David Oates in Honour of his 75th Birthday, London: Nabu Publications, pp. 11-31 (with Giorgio Buccellati).
Membership in professional organizations
- Archaeological Institute of America
- Catholic Biblical Association
- Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft
- Further information can be found on Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati’s personal website.
- "Terqa website".
- Kelly-Buccellati, Marilyn (2002). "Ein hurritischer Gang in die Unterwelt" (PDF). Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft zu Berlin. 134: 131–148.
- For a complete list of publication, see Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati's personal website. Specifically on Urkesh, see the Urkesh/E-Library.
- "Cotsen Institute of Archeology".
- A complete list of publications (with PDFs) can be found on Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati’s personal website (together with a complete list of all her lectures and conferences). On Urkesh/Tell Mozan, see specifically on the Urkesh/E-Library.
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