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Chapter 5: Neolithic 3 Hama (Pages 304-305)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

The River Orontes is deeply incised into the Syrian plateau at Hama. The ancient mound lies on a terrace in the valley beside the river in the heart of the modern town. The site was excavated from 1932 to 1933 but only the upper levels were cleared to any extent. A Roman cistern was cleaned out and below this a sounding was dug to the sterile subsoil. The sounding took the form of a circular shaft 1.5 metres in diameter which enabled the excavators to ascertain the stratigraphic sequence but was too narrow for much to be learned about the nature of the earlier settlements.

This deep sounding -- G 11 X -- was sunk in the northern sector of the mound near the river. It was found that the earliest settlement of Period M was established on the natural subsoil and that the deposit was 6 metres deep. Such a considerable accumulation of debris suggests that the settlement was substantial but we do not know of course how extensive it was. Some of the layers were ashy and others pebbly. These were presumably the remains of occupation debris and floors. There was also a little painted plaster from buildings, the only indication of substantial structures.

The finds were meagre simply because the sounding was so small. Pottery of two sorts was found throughout Period M. One was a thick coarse ware and the other a finer ware which had been coloured red or black and burnished; some of these sherds were also incised. The only other finds reported were flint and obsidian blades.

The layers of Period M were stratified beneath those of Period L which contained Halaf pottery. Its position in the stratigraphic sequence and the nature of the pottery indicate that the settlement of Period M was occupied in Neolithic 3 and can be equated with Ras Shamra VB and VA

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