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Ancient Citadel Shows Scars Of Mass Warfare (Mesopotamia - 3500BC)
New Scientist ^ | 12-16-2005 | Will Knight

Posted on 12/16/2005 8:34:38 AM PST by blam

Ancient citadel shows scars of mass warfare

11:42 16 December 2005
NewScientist.com news service
Will Knight

The shattered remains of a 5500-year-old citadel that stood on the modern-day border between Syria and Iraq provide some of the oldest evidence for organised and bloody warfare.

The Mesopotamian settlement lies in Hamoukar, on the northernmost tip of Syria, 8 kilometres from the Iraqi border. In 3500 BC the 13-hectare development was subjected to a devastating attack, its edifices crumbling beneath a crushing hail of bullet-shaped projectiles.

The evidence of the destruction was uncovered in October and November 2005 by an expedition coordinated by the University of Chicago, US, and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.

During earlier excavations, archaeologists found buildings that had been destroyed or severely damaged by fire. The latest expedition revealed 1200 oval clay "bullets" measuring 2.5 centimetres in diameter and 4 centimetres in length. It also unearthed 120 heavier projectiles measuring 5 centimetres by 10 centimetres.

Impact scars

The team originally mistook the larger projectiles for pots, but both these and the smaller bullets showed impact scars and impressions apparently caused by striking buildings.

The archaeologists also conducted experiments that confirmed the projectiles could easily be launched using slings. The smaller bullets were deformed upon impact, which suggests they were manufactured in the heat of battle and were still soft.

"The whole area of our most recent excavation was a war zone," says Clemens Reichel, a member of the team from the University of Chicago. "This was clearly no minor skirmish. This was 'shock and awe' in the fourth millennium BC."

Uruk artefacts

During this period, many large settlements were established south of Hamoukar, within the Euphrates valley in central Iraq. There is evidence that these people periodically migrated northwards, establishing colonies and bringing so-called "Uruk" cultural artefacts with them.

But excavations carried out in Hamoukar between 1999 and 2001 show that the original settlement pre-dates this Uruk migration. Shortly after the city was destroyed, however, Uruk artefacts and structures become common in the area.

"It is likely that the southerners played a role in the destruction of this city," Reichel adds. "They took over this place right after its destruction." This is the first evidence of Uruk people becoming involved in armed conflict on their northward migrations.

Alexandra Fletcher, a curator in the Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum, says the discovery in Hamoukar adds fresh detail to the picture of early civilisation in the area.

"It's a very interesting time period," Fletcher notes. "It is the beginning of big cities and everything we associate with modern life - including war."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 3500; ancient; bc; citadel; godsgravesglyphs; hamoukar; mass; mesopotamia; scars; shows; tellhamoukar; warfare

1 posted on 12/16/2005 8:34:39 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 12/16/2005 8:35:38 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
The Hamoukar Expedition
3 posted on 12/16/2005 8:40:01 AM PST by blam
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To: blam

some things NEVER change. WHAT is it with these people? Is barbarism in their genes?


4 posted on 12/16/2005 8:44:32 AM PST by Jazzman1 (lol)
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To: blam

Very interesting. Thanks for posting.


5 posted on 12/16/2005 8:50:53 AM PST by lilylangtree
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To: blam
Thanks Blam. Pharmboy beat ya though. :')

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

6 posted on 12/16/2005 8:51:24 AM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Jazzman1
Lack of sports, they had to resort to killing each other to show their personhood. Where were the peacenicks, SheeeeHound and Muuuurtha when you needed them?
Somebody should apologize and pay compensation to the victims. McCain is working on new legislaaaaation already.
New facts to surface soon, Bush was behind this one too. Developing on Grudge! Oh, and sKerry's kids and children hurt hardest.
9 posted on 12/16/2005 9:00:19 AM PST by Leo Carpathian (FReeeePeee!)
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To: Jazzman1
some things NEVER change. WHAT is it with these people? Is barbarism in their genes?

You're close. Your comment should have read:

WHAT is it with people? Is barbarism in our genes?

10 posted on 12/16/2005 9:02:02 AM PST by Terabitten (Illegal immigration causes Representation without Taxation.)
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To: ChenangoShooter.308

Sling projectiles are eliptical.

http://www.sonic.net/~quine/romansling.html


11 posted on 12/16/2005 9:06:54 AM PST by TalonDJ
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator


Mesopotamian Feast

13 posted on 12/20/2005 10:18:20 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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To: blam

Very cool. Someday I'll get to visit the digs. The men of Uruk would not recognize our weapons, our technology, our communications, our culture. But they would recognize our foreign policy. Some things do not change.


14 posted on 12/20/2005 10:23:07 PM PST by Billthedrill
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


15 posted on 07/29/2011 10:45:40 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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