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23 August 2010
Many prehistoric sites uncovered in Syria

A settlement dating back to the Neolithic was discovered at Belaas Mountain located to the southeast of Hama Province, central Syria.
     Head of Hama Antiquities Department Abdul Qader Farzat said the Syrian-French expedition found two archaeological sets at the site, the first consists of simple archaeological constructions paved with stones in a circular shape in addition to rows of stony walls. The second set is the oldest part of the village. It dates back to the Neolithic, with an architectural design that is different from those found in Palestine and Euphrates Basin.
     Farzat pointed out that the discovery indicates that the site was inhabited during the prehistoric period through discovering the nature of the houses ancient ancestors lived, in addition to the economic and social activities pursued at the site.
     At the same time, recent work by a Syrian excavation team working at Tal Shamia, some 7km north of Ugarit have discovered evidence of activity dating back to 2,600 BCE. Some architectural details were dated the the Hellenistic period, while  Middle Bronze age clay jars, similar to ones found in Ugarit, were found in the southern part of the site. Also in the southern part were found clay jars from the Early Bronze Age. Skeletal remains dated to the Late Bronze Age were found in the north-western part of the site.
     The Assistant Director of Excavation at the Directorate-General of Antiquities, Ahmed Farzat Taraqji, explained that excavation aimed at cleaning and making plans of the rock-cut tombs of this mountainous area, which would enable more to be learned about their history. He noted that the sites appeared be first inhabited around 2,600 BCE, which coincided with the second construction boom of the Near East.

Sources: Global Arab Network (15 and 17 August 2010)

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