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1 January 2018
4,000-year-old military network found in northern Syria

Recent analysis of aerial and satellite images has enabled the discovery of more than a thousand sites in Syria, representing a vast structured surveillance and communication network dating from the Middle Bronze Age (2nd millennium BCE) - the first of its kind in the territory.
     The area covers approximately 7,000 square kilometres to the east of Hama, at the edge of densely populated sedentary regions of the Fertile Crescent to the west, and sparsely populated arid nomadic steppes to the east.
     Access to aerial and satellite observations from 1960 to the present made it possible to reconstruct the network beyond the limits of the area under exploration, revealing an exceptional series of fortresses, small forts, towers, and enclosures extending around 150 kilometres north-south along the mountainous ridge which dominates the steppes of central Syria.
     The particularly well-preserved structures date from about 2,000 BCE to 1,550 BCE. Research suggests the fortresses were made from large blocks of basalt forming walls several metres wide and high. Each fortified site was positioned in such a way to ensure that it could see and be seen by others, with the ability to communicate through visual signals, rapidly conveying information to the major centres of power. Its purpose would have been to guard transport corridors, protect urban areas, and defend territory.

Edited from PhysOrg, Popular Archaeology (21 December 2017)

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