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Archaeo News 

28 October 2007
Artefacts from the Neoltihic uncovered in Syria

Along with the 11,000-year-old wall painting recently discovered in northern Syria, archaeologists have uncovered a series of startling artefacts. Carved stone tools, flints, seed-grinding implements and brick-grinding stones have been recovered. Many bone objects were also found - both remnants of the animals that made up part of the daily diet and intricately fashioned tools.
     The dig also uncovered several figurines made of gypsum, chalk, bone and clay. The most recent discovery, an 11,000-year-old statue of a man is "particularly important and well preserved," said Frenchman Eric Coqueugniot, who has been leading the excavations on the west bank of the river at Dja'de. This item will allow comparisons with other similar sculptures found on sites in the Urfa region of southern Turkey, added the French scientist, who has overseen archaeological projects at Dja'de for 15 years. "The figures could have had religious significance. The female statuettes could also have been fertility symbols. But they could have had entirely different ritual meanings," Coqueugniot said. "We can only offer hypotheses," he added. "It is still very difficult to say what was the significance of this 11,000-year-old statue of the woman."
     The latest discoveries date back to the start of the Neolithic era, in a period known as the Epipalaeolithic. Many artefacts from this period have been discovered in northern Syria, in particular at Jerf al-Ahmar, a site destroyed by the Tishrin dam, Coqueugniot said. It was one of several built over the past three decades that have flooded a number of archaeological sites.

Source: Middle East Online (24 October 2007)

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