Syria Population and Archeology

By | December 17, 2021


The Syria was populated at the census of September 1970 by 6,304,685 residents, with an average density of 34 residents / km 2, and with over a million more people than in 1960 (see table). Even more incisive, however, is the increase that took place in the years 1970-77, which brought the population to 7,845,000 residents (according to an estimate of June 1977), thanks above all to the progressive increase (due to improved sanitation and food conditions, etc.) of the annual growth coefficient, which recently reached a peak of 3.3% against the average of 2.9% of the period 1950-60. Such a rate is among the highest in the world, lower than that of Jordan (3.4%), but higher than that of Thailand (3.1%), Peru (3.2%) and Morocco (3, 0%).

The huge increase in the population can further delay the economic restructuring that the Syria has been pursuing for some years, also because it mainly affects the traditional settlement areas (narrow coastal flat belt, Euphrates valley), leaving almost depopulated vast areas of the interior and desert regions, which also occupy about half of the land area. It should also be noted that, following the recent Israeli-Egyptian war events which have greatly threatened the political order of most of the states of the Near East, Palestinian refugees are increasing slightly (1972: 193.420). For Syria culture and traditions, please check

The population is largely Muslim, with Christian minorities (Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Catholic-Armenians, etc.) Alawite and Druze. The Druze communities (100,000 individuals in all) have settled in the border regions with Jordan and Iraq and still profess a religion that is a mixture of paganism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, testifying to the long and complex history of dominations and struggles that have upset the country at all times.

The last few years, alongside the stationary nature of nomads (140,000), have marked a marked tendency towards urbanization of the Syrian population (in 1970 the urban population was 49% of the total), with the conspicuous growth of some cities (Damascus, Aleppo, etc.) which in some cases have seen their population double in less than 10 years.


The archaeological activities in Syria after the resumption of political and diplomatic relations following the proclamation of independence of the Arab-Syrian Republic, continued in the large traditional construction sites of Ras Shamrah-Ugarit (v.) And Tell Hariri-Mari, as well as in some other important excavation sites, such as Tell Mardīkh (v.), Tell Khuwera in Gezirah, Tell Rifa‛at-Arpad and ‛Ain Dara not far from Aleppo; a particular concentration of research has taken place since 1965, in the middle Euphrates valley in the eth-Thawra region, due to the need to study, rescue and restore historic centers threatened by the formation of Lake Assad following the construction of the Tabqa Dam. The exploration of the middle Euphrates valley, with the discovery of at least two important centers, Tell Habuba Kebira and Jebel ‛Aruda, referable to the culture of Uruk (about 3300-2900 BC), revealed one of the ways of expansion of the paleosumeric civilization, allowing the identification of Sumerian colonies that may have been the models for the spread of urban culture from the land of Sumer to the west. From this irradiation from the south they must have derived during the 3rd millennium BC. C. the first important urban phenomena characterized by autonomous elements, among which the most relevant is certainly Tell Khuwera, in a Khurrian environment, not far from Ras el-‛Ain, whose architecture, characterized by the emergent wing typology of temples and whose sculpture, dominated by the geometric-abstract vision typical of Mesilim’s style, they indicate a proto-dynastic cultural flowering with original aspects that can be placed between 2700 and 2300 BC. Christ. The Italian excavations of Tell Mardīkh have made it possible to identify in this site the ancient Ebla, the center of the great mature Proto-Syrian urban culture (about 2400-2000 BC), to which more and more frequent testimonies are connected: still in the Euphrates valley show levels of this culture Tell Selenkahiyya, Tell el-Abd and Tell Halawa. Substantial contributions to the knowledge of the border region between Hittite and Assyrian dominion, from 1350 to 1190 BC. C., have provided Tell Mumbaqat and Tell Frai on the left bank and Meskene-Emar on the right bank of the Euphrates: the first is a large fortified center, of which a temple with a longitudinal cell is especially noteworthy; The second one, perhaps destroyed around 1270 BC. C., in its two temples and in the “palazzetto” reveals a complex architectural culture in which paleosirian, archaic and anatolian elements are at work. Emar, where several longitudinal cell temples and a palatine building have also been unearthed, was an important administrative center of the Hittite empire, destroyed around 1190 BC. C., which has provided a large number of cuneiform texts mostly Mid-Babylonian. The too short archaeological exploration of Tell Rifa‛at allowed only the excavation of one of the gates of Arpad, the capital of the Aramaic state of Bit Agushi. Much more important is the complex of Neo-Hittite sculptures that came to light on the acropolis of ‛Ain Dara and dated between 900 and 740 BC.

Syria Population