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Neolithic Hauran

Overview: Auranitis (Hauran) (Arabic Ḥawrān) also spelled Hawran -- Houran and Horan is a volcanic plateau -- a geographic area and a people located in southwestern Syria and extending into the northwestern corner of Jordan (1) ...

Jebel el-Druze and Hauran. Shahbah (ancient Philippopolis) -- Library of Congress (1938)

Selected Excerpt on Hauran

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

Chapter 4: Neolithic 2 Hauran (Page 208)

One surface station in the Hauran has yielded a collection of 13 blades. They were all large and unretouched with narrow rounded bulbular ends characteristic of platform preparation on double-ended cores. They may tentatively be attributed to a Neolithic 2 site although the exact location of their findpoint is not known. There is insufficient evidence to asign the site to any regional group ...

(2) Five Years in Damascus: including an account of the history topography and antiquities of that city : with
travels and researches in Palmyra Lebanon and the Hauran -- Volume 2 by Josias Leslie Porter (1855) PDF

... I had already spent three years in Syria before an opportunity occurred of carrying out my intention with regard to the Hauran. I was hindered in part by the calls of duty and in part by the disturbed state of the country ; yet still my desire remained strong as ever and was even increased by a more minute study of those sketches of its history and geography contained in ancient writers. The breaking out of the Druze war in the autumn of 1852 took away all hope of visiting it for a lengthened period ; but the defeat of the Government troops and the consequent desire for peace on the part of the Sultan again seemed to open my way. Mr. Wood, the British consul at Damascus, was requested by the Pasha to act as mediator after the representatives of some other European nations had volunteered their services and failed. This tended to increase the great influence he had formerly possessed with the Druzes, the dominant party in the Hauran. He arranged a meeting with Sheikh Said Jimblat, the most powerful and influential of all the Druze chiefs ... The sheikhs of the Hauran all assembled to receive the proposals of the Government and discuss the terms of peace. It was a stormy scene ; and more than once a peace congress was well-nigh changed into a fierce battle. The fanatical Muslems (sic) feared or pretended to fear treachery on the part of Mr. Wood and Said Beg and once the cry was raised to pull down the house in which they were sitting. The proud Druze chief could ill brook such insults and haughtily stated that if he had anticipated such insolence he would have brought from his native mountains such a force as would have effectually prevented its recurrence for the future. In fact, it was only the smallness of his retinue— about a hundred and fifty men— that prevented him from taking instantaneous revenge. Still, notwithstanding such threats and insinuations on the spot and no less dangerous intrigues of disappointed consuls in Damascus, Mr. Wood with his usual ability succeeded in opening up communications which have secured a long truce and promise to effect final reconciliation and peace.

Mr. Wood, on his return Damascus, assured me of the practicability of a journey to that province after the feelings of the people had quieted a little and the bandits, whom war ever draws toward it, had withdrawn to some other quarter ... Toward the close of January 1853 an American gentle man arrived in Damascus and expressed his determination to visit the Druzes of the Hauran ; and I at once agreed to accompany him. The Rev. Mr. Barnett also expressed his desire to join our party. Mr. Wood kindly favoured our proposed journey and promised us strong letters of recommendation to the five principal Druze sheikhs. The great difficulty now was to get to the Druze district. A blood feud existed between the Kurds and the Druzes ; and the former, being irregular troops in the pay of the Government, were scouring the plain of Damascus attacking and murdering little parties of Druzes wherever they could find them.

This blood feud prevented the Druzes from approaching the city of Damascus ; and hence our difficulty in obtaining an escort to the borders of their territory. The kindness of Mr. Wood again aided us. Mr. Misk, his dragoman, came to me on Saturday the 29th of January bringing with him a Christian, an inhabitaut of the village of Hit in the Jebel (mountain area of) Hauran. He informed us that a large caravan was to leave the city on Monday for his native village taking the direct road by Nejha and along the eastern border of the Lejah. This was the route which of all others I preferred to travel.

Commencement of the Jebel Hauran

... After twenty minutes delay an old man rode up to us and directed us in the road to Hiyat. The road we were directed to follow led south by east up the easy slopes which are here bleak enough; not a tree or a shrub to diversify the naked scenery. The soil is extremely fertile ; but as the basaltic rock occasionally crops over it and large boulders and broken fragments lie scattered thinly over its surface, the whole has a ragged and forbidding aspect. And there were no grand features to relieve the monotony. The mountain summits in front were concealed by the heavy drifting clouds.

After ascending about three-quarters of an hour and surmounting a little eminence we began to observe the first signs of modern cultivation ; and we also obtained our first view of the village of Hiyat standing upon the hill side above us like a huge fortress. On our left also we saw several castle-like villages, some on the summits of tells (mounds) and others at their bases. The signs of life and industry now appeared in the fields on every side. Numerous yokes of oxen were engaged in turning up the fertile soil with ploughs which are no doubt exact counterparts of those used in the days of the patriarchs and by the subjects of the mighty Og, whose ancient kingdom we were traversing.

At 8-30 we reached the village of Hiyat and rode at once to the sheikh's house where we were received with great distinction. We simply announced ourselves as Englishmen and this was sufficient to open to us the heart and home of the noble Druze. Coffee was produced, roasted, pounded and presented with all due formality .... I now expressed a desire to see the various ruins of the village ; and a young Druze offered to act as my guide.

Hiyat is built on the gentle slope of the hillside in the form of a quadrangle and is somewhat less than a mile in circumference. The houses are all constructed of roughly hewn stones, uncemented but closely jointed. They are massive and simple in their plan, giving evidence of remote antiquity. The present inhabitants have selected the most convenient and comfortable chambers and in these have settled down without alterations or additions. The roofs are all of stone like those of Burak and so also are the doors ; but I observed in one or two places that the stone doors had been removed and wooden ones substituted.

Jebel el-Druze and Hauran. Kanawat. Double stone (basalt) doors -- Library of Congress (1938)

(1) Wikipedia

(2) Five years in Damascus: including an account of the history topography and antiquities of that city :
with travels and researches in Palmyra Lebanon and the Hauran --Volume 2 by Josias Leslie Porter (1855) PDF

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium