An article on philly.com looks at work at a strategic site near the Syrian border, where work was interrupted nearly 90 years ago by the First World War. The important site is now undergoing excavations again, right on the edge of the Syrian warzone. A third of the site crosses the Syrian border and is therefore out of bounds, but archaeologists are exploring the Turkish side. The article looks at previous work at the site, and the current dangers.
A Turkish-Italian team is conducting the most extensive excavations there in nearly a century, building on the work of British Museum teams that included T.E. Lawrence, the adventurer known as Lawrence of Arabia. The plan is to open the site along the Euphrates river to tourists in late 2014.
The strategic city, its importance long known to scholars because of references in ancient texts, was under the sway of Hittites and other imperial rulers and independent kings. However, archaeological investigation there was halted by World War I, and then by hostilities between Turkish nationalists and French colonizers from Syria who built machine gun nests in its ramparts. Part of the frontier was mined in the 1950s, and in later years, creating deadly obstacles to archaeological inquiry at a site symbolic of modern strife and intrigue.
Also on the Phys.org website, with photos.