Sunday, 19 May 2013

Syria, More on Syria

I've been steadily plodding on trying to write up the results of searching Google Earth for looted sites in Syria and making sense of it all  (if only I could work out how I embedded "kmz" links in previous posts...).
I'd like to share three of the sites I spotted here, the first two as I hope somebody more clued-up might help out by saying what we are looking at, the third for entertainment.

1) Not looting. Mohasen (lat 35°13'19.97"N long 40°18'12.09"E) [go on, someone put a tired bloke out of his misery and tell me how to embed a link to GE]. What is this?


we are looking at what seems to be an eroded bank on a flood plain, date, purpose? 

2) Not looting? Tell Shaknin (lat 36°19'8.16"N long 39° 0'14.75"E) the whole area is riddled by holes, but these do not look like dug pits, there is identical patterning on exposed surfaces in the area around. I have a feeling these are natural. Are these karstic features (sinkholes) maybe? (I do not know what the geology here is).

 3) Not looting. Geoglyph created before 20.07.2003, Qal'at esh-Shmemis (lat 35° 2'15.19"N long 37° 0'47.30"E):

Welcome. Oddly enough, not only is this in English, but cannot be seen from the surrounding plain apparently only from above.

I'd also be interested to hear from anyone with knowledge about looting of sites in Syria before 2007, it seems there was quite a  bit of it going on, though not necessarily where one might expect it.

UPDATE 10th June 2013:
Emma Cunliffe wrote 
From my own research for my thesis, I also have some information on earlier looting in Syria, although i was looking at the period between 2006-2010, rather than pre-2007.

On Tell Shaknin - "The pattern of holes is certainly similar to looting patterns elsewhere, for example, at Tell Bi'a in Raqqa, the softer holes are those which predate the 20thC , and are now partially filled in. (35°57'28.32"N, 39° 2'50.78"E)". I'm not sure I agree, the holes look quite different on the two sites. This is a site which I'd like to see more photos of before deciding what this is we are looking at. Whatever it is, some of it was there before 2004, while some appeared before 2011.

As for the geoglyph, Mrs Cunliffe says "it is possible to see the "welcome" sign from the ground (". Ah, but that's cheating, it's taken from the top of an adjacent mound. But point taken, perhaps the people making it were not intending to signal a passing UFO.

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