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27 March 2011
11,000-year-old settlement unearthed in Syria

A Syrian-French archaeological mission unearthed a small village in the archaeological site of Tel Qarasa (hill) in the west of Swaida province (Syria), dating back to around 11,000 years. The search conducted at the site over the last two years allowed the archaeologists to discover a tiny village of 8 round houses whose inhabitants depended on fishing and growing cereal crops and wild fruits for their living.
     Wasim al-Shaarani, Head of Swaida Archaeology Department, said the discovered houses indicate that the human groups in the area were fully civilized as they knew the cereal farming and cattle raising. "The presence and settlement of humans in this region was made possible by the existence of Qarasa Spring which feeds a small lake in the middle of the area," added al-Shaarani in a statement.
     Human settlement in the southern mound of Qarasa village started since nearly 2500 BCE. The inhabitants then participated in the building of the first cities in the area and the human settlement in the village continued till 200 BCE. Al-Shaarani pointed out in the statement that during excavation works, weapons, agricultural tools made of flint and bone, small puppets and skeletons were found in a big room in one of the discovered houses, showing an advanced level of symbolic culture of the people of the region. Architectural remains of about 2 m thick basalt walls and various constructions from the Bronze Age were also uncovered in the excavations.
     The archaeological survey of the region singled out 4 phases of human settlement dating back to the period between the Final Neolithic period and the Late Bronze Age. The archaeological findings unearthed in the southern area are being studied by specialists at Swaida National Museum.  The report of the Syrian-French mission said the excavations have revealed 522 archaeological sites in al-Lajat region from the ancient historical periods of the 7th millennium BCE, among which was Tel Qarasa.

Edited from Global Arab Network (24 March 2011)

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