Thursday, October 11, 2007

SYRIAN WALL PAINTING DATED TO 11,000 YEARS AGO

French archaeologists have discovered an 11,000-year-old wall painting underground in northern Syria which they believe is the oldest in the world.

The 2 square-meter painting, in red, black and white, was found at the Neolithic settlement of Djade al-Mughara on the Euphrates, northeast of the city of Aleppo, team leader Eric Coqueugniot told Reuters. Through carbon dating we established it is from around 9,000 B.C.," Coqueugniot said. Rectangles dominate the ancient painting, which formed part of an adobe circular wall of a large house with a wooden roof. The site has been excavated since the early 1990s.

The painting will be moved to Aleppo's museum next year, Coqueugniot said. Its red came from burnt hematite rock, crushed limestone formed the white and charcoal provided the black.

A large number of flints and weapons have been found at the site as well as human skeletons buried under houses.

"This site is one of several Neolithic villages in modern day Syria and southern Turkey. They seem to have communicated with each other and had peaceful exchanges," Coqueugniot said.France is an important contributor to excavation efforts in Syria, where 120 teams are at work. Syria was at the crossroads of the ancient world and has thousands of mostly unexcavated archaeological sites.

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