Prehistoric City Discovered in Syria





A prehistoric town that had remained untouched beneath the ground near Syria for 6,000 years is now revealing clues about the first cities in the Middle East prior to the invention of the wheel.

The town, called Tell Zeidan, dates from between 6000 B.C. and 4000 B.C., and immediately preceded the world's first urban civilizations in the ancient Middle East. It is one of the largest sites of the Ubaid culture in northern Mesopotamia.

Now archaeologists from the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute and their Syrian colleagues are studying the town, which sits below a mound in an area of irrigated fields at the junction of the Euphrates and Balikh Rivers in what is now northern Syria.

So far, they have unearthed evidence of the society's trade in obsidian and production and development of copper processing, as well as the existence of a social elite that used stone seals to mark ownership of goods and culturally significant items.



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