Archaeological Survey and Mapping Project of Jebel Bishri in Central Syria

SYGIS The Finnish Archaeological Survey and Mapping Project of Jebel Bishri in Syria was initiated in the late 1990s, when the project plan was accepted by the Syrian General Directory of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and to NASA's world monitoring programme. The co-operation with NASA meant receiving X-SAR Shuttle Mission 2000 remote sensed data from Jebel Bishri, a mountainous region between the Syrian Desert and the Euphrates river. The home institution of the project led by Dr. Minna Lönnqvist (presently Silver) was the Institute for Cultural Research at University of Helsinki, and initial funding was received from the Academy of Finland. The aim was to survey and map the largely archaeologically unexplored area of Jebel Bishri that is known as the mountain of the Amorites and Arameans in the ancient cuneiform sources. Based on the data the main purpose was to study the relationship of pastoral nomads and sedentary people between the mountainous desert-steppe and the Euphrates river. The project used remote sensing, fieldwork and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for data capture, mapping and analysis. Apart from early mobile and village cultures, important finds were traced dating from the Roman and Byzantine period. The work was carried out in 2000-2010 including Nordic research training course funded by NorFA and a GIS course for some staff members of DGAM. Nokia Co. sponsored the project. The final reports were published in the BAR International Series of Archaeopress, Oxford, in 2008 and 2011 beside dozens of other publications.