The Association “Amici di Ebla” was founded in July 2010 by a small group of friends of Italian Archaeological Expedition to Ebla, gathered in the elegant office of Maurizio de Magistris – one of the founders – in the centre of Rome, near Via Veneto. At that time, the Expedition was still active in the site of Ebla, before all the operations were blocked by the outbreak of the war. Then, the aim of the Association was to spread in the public the knowledge about the cultures of the Near East, by means of lectures meetings, travels for study accompanied by members of the Italian Expedition.
Nowadays, it is, of course, impossible to organize travels over a large part of that tormented region and we cannot foresee when excavations at Ebla will reprise, but the Expedition is still strongly engaged in different activities: publication of the materials brought to light in 47 excavation campaigns, management of the huge archive of documents and photographs, but also preparation of plans for future work in Syria.
Which role may the Association have to-day?
For sure, its primary aim is still holding, which is to spread the knowledge about the cultures of the ancient Near East. What we call Near East includes, in terms of modern states, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. These are the places where, for the first time, towns were built, writing was invented, the first calendar was created, navigation started. In many ways, our civilizations are all descending from those first attempts made in Sumer, Babylonia, Syria and in all the regions which witnessed, one after the other, the birth and development of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In these times of contrasts and apparent clashes of civilizations we would like to offer a contribution of objective knowledge about these fascinating places and cultures, which have a great importance also for us modern peoples, because they are the evidence of a continuity of interaction and integration among peoples and cultures.
WHAT DO WE DO
The Association has the aim to spread the knowledge about the most ancient cultures of the ancient Near East, as well as to support the activities of the Italian Archaeological Expedition to Syria and the researches of the team of scholars working for it.
To this aim, the Association produces a Newsletter (in distribution only for members), dealing with the actual situation of archaeology in the Countries of the Near East and with historical information about the main sites in those regions. The Association organizes lectures, congresses and cycles of lessons for scholars and interested public (open for everyone upon payment), about the most relevant subjects of the cultures of the ancient Near East: birth of writing, birth of the town, etc.
Moreover, the Association promotes and supports the activities of scholars and young researchers, PhD students and Post-Docs, engaged in the field, in excavations, or in the study and publication of archaeological materials, with special concern for those coming from the excavation of ancient Ebla.