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.
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.