Sites at Nadra in the Central Eastern High Plateau

The Valley of Nadra on the Bishri mountain

. Photo: Kenneth Lönnqvist. © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

Ancient nomadic sites are pronouncedly represented in the finds of Jebel Bishri. Tombs of different kinds are the most frequent category of the ancient remains at Nadra surveyed so far. Stone circles, including corrals used as animal pens, are also common. The environment of Nadra is steppic while Tar al-Sbai to the West is desert-steppe. The landscape of Nadra area is characterized by several ancient rivers, wadis that occasionally have seasonal currents. The nomadic sites in the area are typical of the Greater Southwest Asian Arid Zone defined by J. Zarins: stone circles, corrals, ring cairn/tumuli and cairns/tumuli. They resemble the nomadic site types of Tar al-Sbai. The Chalcolithic period and the Early Bronze Age were periods of flourishing desert cultures. Nadra mainly offers Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age evidence beside Roman remains and present-day nomadic sites.

Site I 17 at Nadra: measuring and studying a ring cairn/tumulus. Photo: Gullög Nordquist. © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

A plan of a ring cairn/tumulus with clear megalithic features from Nadra. © SYGIS – Jebel Bishri, the Finnish Project in Syria

The Finnish project has also recorded and documented a more recently abandoned Bedouin village with ruined houses and a cemetery with some 100 graves. Agricultural activities no longer exist at Jebel Bishri. Agriculture increases desertification and harms the life of the Bedouin range land. The ban of agricultural activities was given in 1995 by the government in these kinds of areas.