Jebel Bishri

Ancient and Modern Habitat of Pastoral Nomads

The mountainous region of Jebel Bishri is situated in central Syria (35-36 degrees N latitude, 39-40 degrees E longitude) the peak of the mountain locating ca. 50 km west of the city of Deir ez-Zor on the Euphrates. Jebel Bishri belongs to the Greater Southwest Asian Arid Zone which is marked by the line of the 250 mm isohyet. The greater area of Jebel Bishri which according to ACSAD covers ca. 1 million ha is generally arid and semi-arid with steppe-type vegetation lying between the 100 mm and 250 mm isohyets. It is a border region between pastoral nomadic groups and sedentary agriculturalists.

Image 1. The mountain of Jebel Bishri  between the Euphrates and the Syrian Desert in Central Syria located on a satellite map. Mapping Minna Lönnqvist (Silver).

The area of Jebel Bishri was chosen for the target of the GIS-survey and mapping project first because of the importance of the area as the centre of the nomadic Amorites, already mentioned in Mesopotamian cuneiform sources ca. 2600 B.C. and secondly because of the nature of the area as terra incognita, practically unexplored by archaeological means.

UK aviation map displaying western parts of Jebel Bishri. Scale 1: 500 000. © UK MOD Crown Copyright, published with a permission of HMSO.

Videoclip: Nomadism and Sedentism © SYGIS and Ghadi Boustani

Nomadism and Sedentism © SYGIS and Ghadi Boustani