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The Jazirah Region of Mesopotamia

Overview: Arabic Island -- the northern reaches of Mesopotamia now making up part of northern Iraq and extending into eastern Turkey and extreme northeastern Syria. The region lies between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and is bounded on the south by a line running between Tikrit on the Tigris and Anbar. It consists of a rolling and irregular plateau 8001500 feet above sea level ...

Upper Mesopotamia and Western Jazirah Landscape Projects (OI)

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

Straddling the southern margins of dry-farming -- without irrigaton and mean annual rainfall of 200-300 milimetres or more -- this region includes to the north and west areas where dry-land cultivation is feasible so that settlements can spread away from obvious sources of irrigation water (Example: Sweyhat and the Upper Balikh River Valley). To the south and east where dryland farming becomes impracticable, settlement distributions, being more tied to water supply, become more linear. The latter area shows more evidence of canal and qanat water supply (predominantly post classical) and the presence within such an area of key early sites like Mureybat and Abu Hureyra requires some environmental or technological explanation .....

During 1993 fieldwork was confined to the Balikh River Valley specifically focused on the Neolithic Halaf and Middle Assyrian site of Sabi Abyad. Excavations at this site continue to provide abundant information concerning prehistoric communities in northern Syria and with the discovery of numerous Middle Assyrian tablets within a fortified building complex the site is now also shedding light upon living conditions close to the western limits of the Middle Assyrian empire .....

The Balikh River receives most of its water from the spring of Ain (Well) Arous near the Turkish border. Although possibly slightly more vigorous in the fourth millennium BC this was never a copious river; hence as stated in Old Babylonian texts from Mari its waters were often subjected to rather acrimonious dispute (territorial warfare for land and water for the purposes of farming) .....

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium