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New Archaeological Discoveries

Excavations in Sweida resulted in important new discoveries, the most important is the lower left part of the ancient western archaeological gate of Sweida city dating back to the end of the first century AD. It is a rectangular basaltic rocks, carved well and relatively large in size.

Head of  Sweida Antiquities Bureau, Hussein Zeineddin, said that this part is located north of the road leading to al- Najmeh(star) Palace down more than two meters from its level and has a height of 2.45 meters, a length of 2.5 meters and a width of 2.5 meters. The work will continue to uncover the right lower part of the gate where the upper portions of it appeared broken (by man). 

"The excavation works at the site of Breakah Hill in Sweida, date back mainly to the Middle Bronze 2000/1500 BC, also resulted in detecting ruins of  a residential house back to the Aramaic period "700 BC". The house was built of basalt stone in addition to a group of earthen wine jugs, pottery jars belonging to the same period," Zeineddin said.

"These discoveries are added to the ones that have been found in the processes of previous excavations which included two rooms, one of them included nine earthen wine jugs of large size that were arranged in three rows and were used to save wine in addition to a floor paved with small stones, and a foundation of two rooms, one of them contained a pottery basin and the second contained a large jar," Zeineddin stressed. 

 "Several stone tools and broken bones, pottery vessels and a mold for pouring gold ornaments that included elaborate inscriptions and decorations made also have been discovered," Zeineddin added.
"The other room contained artifacts made of colored pebbles taken from river in addition to a stone basin to crush the dyes, small silky basaltic stone for waxing threads, a chamber to save the earthen wine jugs, as well as a piece of unique ivory a tube shaped with diameter of about "5 cm". This evidence reflects a boom in the ivory industry in the Aramean period during the first three centuries of the first thousand BC," head of  the Antiquities Bureau clarified. 

" Some of  excavation missions operating at Breakah Hill site also discovered architectural ruins date back to the eighteenth century BC. Beside the site, there were  graveyards in the form of pottery jars and a number of oil pitchers that were used for  transporting olive oil and other sorts of oils  to different parts of Bilad As Sham, and  Egypt.  Among the finds, there was a "beetle" shaped seal that belonged to an Egyptian traders. They  left this legacy at this site near a spring of water," he pointed out.
 "The National Excavation Mission also found, in the area of temples at the archaeological site of Sea,i specifically in the eastern courtyard of Ze al Sharat  Temple, located between the temples of Baal Shamin in the West and the Great Temple in the east, the Haram wall of this temple on the southern- eastern side and found a "corridor" paved with basalt tones leads from the end of the eastern Haram area and west of the Nabatiyeh gate to the area of south  the southern Chapel in addition to a number of pottery saddles and coins belonging to the two Nabatiyeh and Romanian eras, noting that work will continue at the two archaeological sites of  Breakah Hill and Sea,i in the future due to their historic significance," Zeineddin concluded. 

Sh. Kh.

Some 562 Tourism Projects in Damascus Countryside

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The number of tourist projects mostly” Hotels and Restaurants" in Damascus Countryside reached 562 tourist projects with a cost of SP 139 billion.

The number of invested tourist projects is 379 with at a cost of SP 39 billion were put under investment.  These included 145 hotels with a cost of SP billion 29 and 234 restaurants at a cost of SP 10 billion, according to Damascus countryside Tourism Directorate.

Other 18 projects are under construction in Damascus Countryside at a cost of SP 17 billion, the directorate added.

N.K

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi , A UNESCO World Heritage

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi, or the "Eastern Castle", is a castle in the middle of the Syrian Desert. It was built by the Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in 728-29 CE. It was apparently used as a military and hunting outpost. The palace is the counterpart of Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi, a nearby castle palace built one year earlier.

Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from al-Sukhnah and 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Sergiopolis (Rusafa), near Bishri Mountain near Palmyran Middle Mountains.

The palace consists of a large open courtyard surrounded by thick bulwarks and towers guarding the entrances as well as each corner. The palace consists of two square structures, one with a diameter of 300m and the other of 100 metres (330 ft). The palace(s) contains remnants of rooms, arches and columns which seem to be parts of a huge royal complex. Some of the decorated parts have been moved to the National Museum of Damascus while the gate has been reconstructed in the Deir ez-Zor Museum.

The bigger palace has been several floors, with a huge gate and many towers. Towers were not built as defensive measures. There were also olive yards. The palaces were supplied with water by nearby Byzantine church by a canal 5,700 metres (6,200 yd) long. The palaces contained bathrooms, water reservoirs, mosques and gardens.

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on June 8, 1999 in the Cultural category.

M.Wassouf

"Ateel" The charm of well-fortified site

An old inhabited village in Sweida city, Ateel is protected by its unique architectural art. Its name gives her a historical importance that means the strong well-fortified site.

ATEEL is known of its civilized heritage that presents a creative story about the archeological sites and historical landmarks. These sites which date back to the Nabataean Age in the first century B.C. are a witness for many successive civilizations, with its churches and mosques which were converted from temples in the Roman era.

The village most important archeological sites are the two temples. The north one was built in the second century A.D by the leader Karacala, and used by people for a long time. The history of the site is explained in writings in the Roman language on the right side of the temple entrance.

The southern temple registered as a historical monument, was built in 152 A.D. Until now, one can see the columns of its gate, parts of its rooms and the sides of the temple that were decorated with unmatched wonderful architectural and botanical shapes.

Archeologists referred to the distinct construction plan of the two temples and the long road linking them across the village from south to north.

Khaled falhoot

Tell Kazel

It is located in Safita district, in the north of the Akkar plain on the north of the al-Abrash river approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) south of Tartus Governorate, according to archaeological encyclopedia.

The tell was first surveyed in 1956 after which a lengthy discussion was opened by Maurice Dunand and N. Saliby identifying the site with the ancient city variously named Sumur, Simyra or Zemar (Egypt. Smr Akkad. Sumuru or Assyrian Simirra. The ancient city is mentioned in the Bible, Book of Genesis (Genesis 10:18) and 1 Chronicles (1 Chronicles 1:16) as the home of the Zemarites, an offshoot of the Caananites. It was a major trade center and appears in the Amarna letters; Ahribta is named as its ruler. It was under the guardianship of Rib-Hadda, king of Byblos, but revolted against him and joined Abdi-Ashirta's expanding kingdom of Amurru. Pro-Egyptian factions may have seized the city again but Abdi-Ashirta's son Aziru recaptured the city.

The tell was first excavated between 1960 and 1962 by Maurice Dunand, N. Saliby and A. Bounni who determined a sequence between the Middle Bronze Age through to the Hellenistic civilization. The most important occupations were determined to have taken place during the Late Bronze Age and Persian Empire.

In 1985, new excavations began in partnership between the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut and the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria under the directorship of Leila Badre. A large amount of imported pottery from Cyprus was found dating between the 14th and 12th centuries BC and contrasting to other sites in the Homs gap. The city was destroyed during the Late Bronze Age, after which local Mycenaean ceramics, Handmade burnished ware and Grey ware replaced the imported pottery. Architectural remains at the site include a palace complex and temple that were dated towards the end of the Late Bronze Age. The temple contained a variety of amulets, seals and glazed ware that showed similarities with the culture of Ugarit. A later Iron Age settlement was detected between the 9th and 8th centuries BC which was brought to an end with evidence of burnt destruction caused by a currently unidentified Assyrian invasion. A warehouse and defensive installation made out of ashlar blocks were found dating to the Persian period with further evidence of Hellenistic occupation evidenced by a large cemetery in the northeast of the site.

M.W