Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

New Details of First Major Urban Battle Emerge
CCNews ^ | 1/17/07

Posted on 01/17/2007 6:03:09 AM PST by Valin

New details in the tragic end of one of the world's earliest cities as well as clues about how urban life may have begun there were revealed in a recent excavation in northeastern Syria that was conducted by the University of Chicago and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.

"The attack must have been swift and intense. Buildings collapsed, burning out of control, burying everything in them under vast pile of rubble," said Clemens Reichel, the American co-director of the Syrian-American Archaeological Expedition to Hamoukar. Reichel, a Research Associate at the University's Oriental Institute, added that the assault probably left the residents destitute as they buried their dead in the ruins of the city.

Reichel made that assessment of the battle that destroyed Hamoukar about 3500 B.C. after an excavation was conducted in September and October at the site near the Iraqi border. The team uncovered further evidence of the accomplishments of the inhabitants among the remains of the walled city dating to the fourth millennium B.C.

In addition to the wall, the team has uncovered quasi-industrial installations and two large administrative buildings that had been destroyed by an intense fire. It was at the site that, mixed in with the debris from the collapsed wall, that over 1,000 egg-shaped sling bullets were found in 2005, leading the excavators to conclude that an early act of warfare had caused the end of the settlement.

Work in this past season may explain how powerful the early weapons were. "We literally have them at all stages of use, from manufacture to impact," Reichel said, pointing out that the team found a sling bullet that had pierced the plaster of a mud brick wall. The team also found 12 graves in the debris, very likely of people killed in the battle.

The team discovered several rooms with walls up to six feet high in which more than 1,100 sling bullets were found mixed in with collapsed walls and roofs. They also found a shallow pit into which a water jar had been buried to its rim in the floor of one of the rooms. This pit, ordinarily used to soak discarded clay sealings to recycle them into fresh sealing clay, was used to make sling bullets during the city's final hours. This was indicated by two dozen sling bullets than were lined up neatly along its edge.

"It looks as if they were--quite literally--throwing everything they could find against the aggressors," Reichel said.

Hamoukar was on a key trade route that led from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) across Northern Syria and the river Tigris into Southern Mesopotamia. Some evidence of this long-lasting trade was found in an area to the south of Hamoukar's main site-- a large mound. The team found obsidian fragments in an area of over 700 acres (280 hectares), which they dated to 4,500 – 4,000 B.C. using pottery fragments found with the obsidian. In addition to tools and blades, the team found large amounts of production debris such as cores, a discovery that is even more significant than finding actual tools.

"Finding cores and other production debris tells us that they are not just using these tools here, they are making them here," Salam al-Kuntar, the Syrian co-director of the expedition, explained. Obsidian does not occur around Hamoukar but had to be brought in from Turkey with the nearest sources being over 70 miles away.

The discovery of an obsidian processing center is significant, Reichel added, for it could explain the emergence of a city in this location at such an early time. A large-scale export of tools to Southern Mesopotamia would have resulted in significant revenue and accumulation of wealth. "This could have been the incentive that pulled people off their fields. People specialized instead of ploughing their own fields they bought their food supplies from surrounding villages. And once people accumulated a fortune they want a walled enclosure to protect it--your first city." Unlike in southern Mesopotamia, therefore, the prime mover towards urbanism appears to have been economic incentive, not coercion.

The obsidian workshops were located off the main mound and predate the destroyed city by several hundred years, but numerous older levels have already been noted below the destroyed buildings in small test trenches. "We have no clear idea how far the first city at Hamoukar goes back in time," Reichel said. "It could be much earlier than 3,500 B.C."

By the time the city was destroyed, he added, copper had started to replace obsidian as key raw material for tools. The discovery of numerous copper tools in the ruins of Hamoukar might indicate that Hamoukar had followed developed from an obsidian into a copper processing center, possibly also exporting copper tools to the south.

The discovery could lead the way to providing an additional explanation for how civilization developed in the Fertile Crescent. In the south, urban society emerged in the Uruk culture in response to the needs of providing organization to an economy supported by an irrigation-based agriculture.

The latest findings from Hamoukar suggest that the specialized mass-production of goods for trade could have been a similar driving force in the North.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Syria
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; habubakabira; hamoukar; syria; tellbrak; tellhamoukar

1 posted on 01/17/2007 6:03:11 AM PST by Valin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

ping


2 posted on 01/17/2007 6:04:18 AM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Valin
"Finding cores and other production debris tells us that they are not just using these tools here, they are making them here,"

Pre-Emptive strike on weapons of mass destruction facility by Bush people..........

3 posted on 01/17/2007 6:08:12 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Valin

Detroit? LA? Philadelphia? Nawlins?


4 posted on 01/17/2007 6:09:46 AM PST by NonValueAdded (Pelosi, the call was for Comity, not Comedy. But thanks for the laughs. StarKisses, NVA.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NonValueAdded

Senior Citizen Night at Old country Buffet


5 posted on 01/17/2007 6:37:35 AM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Valin

alas:

Ruins in Northern Syria Bear the Scars of a City’s Final Battle
New York Times | January 16, 2007 | John Noble Wilford
Posted on 01/16/2007 10:36:52 AM EST by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1768351/posts

Ancient Weapons Found In RuinsIn Syria
Yahoo News | 1-16-2007 | Tara Burghart
Posted on 01/16/2007 6:46:37 PM EST by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1768602/posts

Artifacts found at ancient city ("This was 'Shock and Awe' in the Fourth Millennium BC.")
Middle East Times | December 17, 2005
Posted on 12/22/2005 12:41:34 AM EST by nickcarraway
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1545172/posts

Ancient Citadel Shows Scars Of Mass Warfare (Mesopotamia - 3500BC)
New Scientist | 12-16-2005 | Will Knight
Posted on 12/16/2005 11:34:38 AM EST by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1541781/posts

New Discoveries In Syria Confirm Theory On Spread Of Early Civilization
Newswise.com | 6-2-2002 | Carrie Golus
Posted on 06/03/2002 4:42:03 PM EDT by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/694010/posts


6 posted on 01/17/2007 8:59:35 AM PST by SunkenCiv ("In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're not." -- John Rummel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Just adding this to the GGG catalog, not sending a general distribution.

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)

7 posted on 01/17/2007 8:59:49 AM PST by SunkenCiv ("In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're not." -- John Rummel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


 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.


8 posted on 07/29/2011 10:46:02 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson