The Euphrates – the Current of Time and Civilisation

A 3-D landscape model of the northern side of Jebel Bishri facing the Euphrates. The model is constructed from NASA space shuttle X-SAR mission 2000 radar data (provided by DLR, the German Aerospace Center) fused with Landsat-7 ETM data by Markus Törmä. Click the link below to see a videoclip: (Aviation animation over the Euphrates and Jebel Bishri) © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

The northern and north-eastern side of Jebel Bishri parallels at the Euphrates River. The area belongs to the Fertile Crescent. Village life expanded with irrigation agriculture on the Euphrates. Downstream, the sites along the Euphrates have provided the first signs of civilization with written documents. From sedentary sites in the piedmont area pottery has been recovered from the Ubaid period from the fifth millennium B.C. and Early Uruk periods, when civilisation and writing were developed in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium B.C. On the Jebel Bishri mountain the Finnish project has surveyed and mapped marble quarries and ancient tells, i.e., mounds containing buried early towns and villages. Early Bronze Age graves, often already looted, are common along the Euphratine side of Jebel Bishri reflecting the activities in the Sumerian and Akkadian era. Some of them include cists constructed of marble and pieces of EB pottery.

Ancient fluvial terraces connected to the northern edge of Jebel Bishri, a view towards the Euphrates valley. Photo: Kenneth Lönnqvist 2003 © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

GPR analysis by Josep Pedret Rodés 2004 © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

Sedentary village life emerged along the Euphrates

The village of Mustaha beneath Jebel Bishri. Photo: Minna Lönnqvist 2003 © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria.

An Ubaid sherd from the northern piedmont area of Jebel Bishri. Photo: Kenneth Lönnqvist 2006 © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

 

A tell at Tibne seen from the CORONA satellite photograph. © USGS, SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

A panorama to Tell Tibne. Photo: Michael Herles 2005 © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria.

An elevation model of Tell Tibne constructed by Jari Okkonen from EDM data captured in situ on the field. © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria.

Tell Tibne is also identified with the site for the fort of Mambri mentioned by ancient historian Procopius. The fort was originally built by Diocletian and later rebuilt by Justinian I.

A fragment of a handmade early Uruk pot from Tibne, the foot of Jebel Bishri. Photo: Michael Herles 2005 © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

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Jebel Bishri
The Finnish Project in Syria