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Panoramic image of the antiquities' reality in Damascus countryside and several governorates during the war

DAMASCUS, (ST)- Archaeological sites in Damascus countryside and the devastation that affected our archaeological sites, as a result of terrorism, are the two axes that Dr. Mahmoud Hammoud, Director General of Antiquities and Museums, spoke about in his lecture at the culture centre of Abu Rummana .

Hammoud said during his lecture entitled "Archaeological Excavations in Damascus Countryside," that many of our sites suffered from illegal excavations by terrorists in order to smuggle artifacts abroad in addition  to the vandalism that affected other sites by these ignorant people, pointing to the continuation of the archaeological activities of our national cadres who protect the archaeological sites and museum relics in various regions, especially the troubled ones.

 The Director General of Antiquities and Museums reviewed the most important archaeological sites in the countryside of Damascus and the excavations that were carried out during the past two decades, which resulted in the discovery of hundreds of artifacts, findings and important sites that date back to different prehistoric times.

In Gebe'din, about 15 cemeteries carved in the rock and more than a hundred individual tombs as well as a large number of caves, were found.

Among the archaeological sites that Hammoud also reviewed is the Tel al-Ramad area of Qatana, which contains monuments from the Neolithic period, where many finds and archaeological tools were found, such as pottery, decorations tools, and human dolls, most of which were for women.

Also, in the town of Heena in Jabal Al-Sheikh, several archeological hills were found that contain burials dating back to the beginning of the second millennium BC and coffins dating back to the Roman era and two burials containing hundreds of pieces such as oil jugs and pottery utensils. He also referred to the site of Tell Ska, in which murals of a royal palace, Pharaonic drawings and two clay figures with cuneiform texts are the first and the only ones found in the Damascus area and southern Syria.

Hammoud pointed to the status of some archaeological sites in Idlib and Hama provinces, especially after clearing large areas of them from terrorism, where the relics and finds of al-Ma'ara Museum were transferred to the Hama Museum, highlighting the efforts of the workers at Apamea Museum, who saved many of the  important artifacts when the terrorists plundered mosaic pieces from the site and smuggled them to America.

Amal Farhat