Copyright 2005

[ December 17th 2005 ]

Archaeologists excavating a site near the Syrian-Iraqi border have uncovered an ancient settlement wiped out by invaders 5,500 years ago, Associated Press reports today.

Discovered in northeastern Syria, the ruined city of Hamoukar appears to have been a large city by 4,500 B.C., said archaeologists Clemens Reichel and Salam al-Quntar, who co-directed Syrian-American excavations on the site.

According to AP, Scholars had long believed that urbanized societies started and were isolated in Uruk, in southern Mesopotamia. But excavations that started in 1999 at Hamoukar and at other sites in central Syria led to new ideas about how urban culture spread in the region.

"The whole area of our most recent excavation was a war zone," Clemens Reichel - a research associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago - said on Friday. "The picture is compelling. If the Uruk people weren't the ones firing the sling bullets, they certainly benefited from it. They took over this place right after its destruction."

Ancient Mesopotamia was a region that included Iraq and parts of Syria. Writings from Mesopotamia (Uruk, modern Warka) are among the earliest known in the world, giving Mesopotamia a reputation of being the "Cradle of Civilization".

Reichel said research into the area would continue in an attempt to uncover artifacts - including early weapons of war - to support the theory that the find represented an early battle ground.

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