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World's oldest wall painting unearthed in Syria

 Syria was at the crossroads of the ancient world and has thousands of mostly unexcavated archaeological sites , it would suffice for one to make a tour in Syria to see that it is deemed to be the gate of human civilization and that each building has a historical story and each archeological site has a long exiting tale. 

 An archeological excavation works which was carried out during the past few years in Syria have discovered an 11,000-year-old wall painting underground in northern Syria which the excavation team believe it is the oldest in the world.

 The 2 square-meter painting, in red, black and white, was found at the Neolithic settlement of Djade al-Mughara on the Euphrates, northeast of the city of Aleppo.

 "It looks like a modernist painting. Some of those who saw it have likened it to work by  the known artist Paul Klee. Through carbon dating we established it is from around 9,000 B.C.," the leader of the excavation team commented.

 "We found another painting next to it, but that won't be excavated until few years later because it needs a slow work," .

 Rectangles dominate the ancient painting, which formed part of an adobe circular wall of a large house with a wooden roof. The site has been excavated since the early 1990s.

 The painting was moved to Aleppo's museum, and its red colour came from burnt hematite rock, crushed limestone formed the white and charcoal provided the black.

 The world's oldest painting on a constructed wall was one found in Turkey but that was dated 1,500 years after the one at Djade al-Mughara, according to Science magazine.

 The inhabitants of Djade al-Mughara lived off hunting and wild plants. They resembled modern day humans in looks but were not farmers or domesticated.

 "There was a purpose in having the painting in what looked like a communal house, but we don't know it. The village was later abandoned and the house stuffed with mud," the leader of the team said.

 A large number of flints and weapons have been found at the site as well as human skeletons buried under houses.

 "This site is one of several Neolithic villages in modern day Syria and southern Turkey. They seem to have communicated with each other and had peaceful exchanges", he added.

 Mustafa Ali, a leading Syrian artist, said similar geometric design to that in the Djade al-Mughara painting found its way into art throughout the Levant and Persia, and can even be seen in carpets and  rugs.

 "We must not lose sight that the painting is archaeological, but in a way it's also modern," he said.



Maysa Wassouf