Thursday, June 21, 2007

Important Pre-Pottery Neolithic discovery in Syria

Polish archaeologists working at a Syrian settlement at the foot of the Taurus Mountains have discovered another stone tower – the oldest one in the world, many dwellings and 27 human and 3 animal burial remains from the beginnings of animal farming and growing the first grains – said Prof. Ryszard F. Mazurowski from the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology at Warsaw University, who is heading the digs.

For the past ten years, Polish-Syrian research in Tell Qaramal, 25 km north of Aleppo and about 65 km south of the Taurus mountains, has been concentrated on traces of the early stages of the pre-ceramic Neolithic period, which covers a period of about 10,700 – 9,500 B.C.. This was the time when the first farming cultures were being established, with a transformation from a hunting-gathering economy to a farming economy, which included keeping animals such as sheep and goats, as well as cattle and pigs at a slightly later stage.

. . .

The Tell Qaramel settlement examined by Polish archaeologists covers an area of about 4 ha and represents a stage of the pre-ceramic Neolithic Age. Previous excavations brought the discovery of four circular towers dating back to between the eleventh millennium and about 9,650 B.C. These are the oldest such buildings in the world. The professor says – “this is the biggest prehistoric discovery made by Polish archaeologists, and one of the greatest discoveries in the Near-East region for 60 years, since the discovery of Jericho”. In the last season, the archaeologists examined the fourth tower – and discovered a fifth one.