Syria Archeology in the first Half of 20th Century

By | December 17, 2021

The Syria in its current political extension includes territories that have had different historical events and whose culture depended on distinct areas of influence, which in some periods also overlapped or merged. Therefore, if we want to trace the picture of archaeological research, it is possible to do so from several points of view. The southern part gravitated around the Canaanite-Phoenician (and Egyptian) area; the northern part, on the other hand, was influenced by the cultural forms and historical events of Mesopotamia and the countries of the North, Armenia and the Caucasus. Furthermore, due to its very geographical situation as a bridge or place of passage and a point of confluence between Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt, the Syria was exposed to receiving influences from three different directions. For Syria religion and languages, please check ezinereligion.com.

Of the excavations and reconnaissance of the last decade, the following deserves importance. In Sarafend, the ancient Sarepta, halfway between Tire and Sidon, a tomb, uncovered by the rains in 1929 and studied by H. Ingholt in 1932, and published (1958) by DC Baramki, provided with its pottery and with a Mycenaean figure of the goddess of fecundity the proof of the Mycenaean influence on Phoenician art and of the trade between Greece and Phenicia in the sec. 14 ° -13 ° a. C.

In Sultantepe (excavations 1951-1952 by Bey N. Gökçe and Seton Lloyd) deep probes give an occupation towards the first half of the second millennium, then an Assyrian occupation between 648-610 with two periods of construction. The city was destroyed by the Scythians and the Babylonians at the same time as the nearby Ḫarrān. The buildings seem to be interpreted as a temple dedicated to Sin. Of great importance is the treasure trove of cuneiform tablets. A short distance from Taināt, on the opposite side of the Aleppo-Antioch road, is Atchana, which seemed to have no great archaeological surprises. Instead Sir L. Woolley, with good archaeological nose, conducted seven excavations there and in nearby el-Mīna (1936-1949) with brilliant results. First of all it turned out that it was ancient Alalakh; also a palace has been exhumed, reconstructed several times, sculptures (two notable lions), ceramics; documents of the Aegean world, objects of oriental influence (Hittito-Hurrian); a statue of a king or divinity, with a cuneiform inscription of more local art; finally several hundreds of cuneiform tablets (published by Wiseman). The whole has made a notable contribution to the knowledge of the historical situation in Syria throughout the second millennium, with contacts with Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Hittites, Ḫurri and Mitanni, until about 1200, when the city was submerged by the invasion of the “Peoples of the Sea”. The synchronisms obtained also served to clarify the problem of the chronology of the Babylonian 1st dynasty. with contacts with Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Hittites, Ḫurri and Mitanni, until about 1200, when the city was submerged by the invasion of the “Peoples of the Sea”. The synchronisms obtained also served to clarify the problem of the chronology of the Babylonian 1st dynasty.

With the publication of volume II of the Fouilles de Byblos, we finally have the main results of the 1933-38 campaigns of those very important excavations, which have recently been resumed. The two volumes describe the great Roman temple, the theater, the baths, the walls; also the temple “field of offerings”, from the Middle Bronze II period, with 22 deposits illustrating the influence of Egypt and, even more, of Mesopotamia and the countries of the North, Armenia and the Caucasus; finally the temple with obelisks, consisting of an anti-death and a quadrangular courtyard in which the sanctuary is composed of an antechamber, pro-cell, cell, a structure that reappears in recent bronze in the temples of Ḥaṣōr, and in the iron period at Tell Taināt (see App. II, 11, p. 837) in the Syria del Nord. Under this temple with obelisks another older sanctuary was found with a quadrangular courtyard, whose destruction is to be attributed to the Amorite invasion of the century. 22 ° a. C.

By means of reconnaissance and collection of Greek inscriptions (G. Tschalenko and H. Seyrig) it was possible to define quite precisely the territory of the capital of Syria in relation to the territory of Cyrrhos of Chalcis, Apamea and Rhossos. The borders between Antioch, Seleucia and Laodicea, on the other hand, remain uncertain. Another survey, that of the ‛Ain el-Beyḍā rocky ridge in the section between‛ Angiarr (Chalcis) and Baalbek (Heliopolis), by A. Beaulieu and R. Mouterde, has made clear a place of defense, observatory and natural reduction from the end of Roman times. Without Hellenistic remains, during the Roman peace there was a “country” temple with a very narrow cell, of the type found by Hermon at Hermel. The Byzantines obtained the blocks for their forts and later built the pentagonal tower there, other towers at the access points and a signaling disk. Perhaps ‛Angiarr was the extreme point of defense of the Orontes valley.

In Tell Chūēra on the bank of the wādī Chūēra, 60 km west of Rās el ‛Ain, two campaigns (1958-1959) directed by A. Moortgat, have brought to light various buildings and constructions: an” external “building outside the city, including a street with a large number of stelae, a portal, a temple, which together represent the first example of monumental architecture in these regions; a group of houses to the SE (“Südanlage”) with painted Akkadian and neo-Sumerian pottery; a stone building (“Steinbau”) which in the last days of excavations (1959) proved to be an important place of worship with a strong influence of the Sumerian-Akkadian culture, not without traits of the culture of Northern Mesopotamia. See also seas ; ras shamra, in this Appendix.

In 1948, the ongoing publication of the Danish excavations at Ḥamāh began.

Syria Archeology in the first Half of 20th Century