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Ancient Damascus (Damashqa)

Modern capital of Syria. A rich oasis city, Damascus was occupied by the 3rd millennium BC but the settlements of the prehistoric, biblical and Roman periods underlie the modern and medieval city and are therefore not readily available for excavation. Egyptian texts and references in the Bible attest the city's importance in international trade from the 16th century BC; it appears as Damashqa in the Tell Amarna documents. The Aramaeans conquered Damascus in the late 2nd millennium BC and it was subsequently annexed by the Assyrians (8th century BC). By 85 BC it had become capital of the Nabatean Kingdom; by 64 BC it was a Roman city of commercial and strategic importance and subsequently a major Byzantine garrison ...

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The Neolithic of the Levant (1978)
A.M.T. Moore [Oxford University]

... the Damascus basin was also flooded during the Würm glacial stage and there was a small lake in the Barada gorge. Large bodies of freshwater such as the Damascus basin lakes would have created highly favorable environments for man. They contained an abundance of fish and molluscs while their marshy shores would have attracted wildfowl and game ...

More arid conditions during the late glacial caused the Damascus basin lake to diminish in area. This happened some time after 20,000 BC and the end of the regression phase itself had a single carbon 14 determination of 17,040 +/- 520 BC ... (Pages 12-13)

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium