Major stages of Syrian History – University of Copenhagen

Syrian Heritage > Major stages of Syrian...

Major stages of Syrian history seen through objects

Used dating abbrivations: 

  • BP = Before Present
  • BC = Before Christ
  • CE = Common Era



Iron Age


  Persian Period 




Islamic Period

Bronze Age

  Ottoman Period
  Modern times




 PaleolithicTo the top

1,400,000 - 245,000 BP (Lower Palaeolithic)
Hand ax, made of flint, from the site of Latamne on the Orontes Valley.
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245,000 - 45,000 BP (Middle Palaeolithic)
Neanderthal skeleton of a child, from the site of Dederiyeh, Afrin Valley, Aleppo
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45,000 - 24,000 BP  (Upper Palaeolithic)
Blade industry, from the site of Umm el Tlel, in the region of (El Kwom) Syrian desert
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EpipalaeolithicTo the top

24,000 - 12,000 BP (Epipaleolithic / Mesolithic)

Microlithic and geometric flint tools, "Jayrud 2" from the country side of Damascus.
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NeolithicTo the top

12,200 - 7500 BP (Neolithic)

Basalt stone plates incised with symbolic motifs from the site of Jerf al Ahmar on the Euphrates Valley.

Clay human figurine from Tell Ramad in the region of Damascus.
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ChalcolithicTo the top

5500 - 4500 BC (Halaf/ Ubaid culture)

Clay female figurine, depicting mother goddess from the site of Tell Khashkashouk on the Euphrates Valley.
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4500 - 3200 BC (Uruk culture )

Loom weights, made of limestone from the site of Habuba Kabira in the Euphrates Valley.
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Bronze AgeTo the top

3200 - 2000 BC (Early Bronze Age)

Breastplate made of Lapis Lazuli, gold, copper, depicting an eagle, from the site of Tell Hariri/Ancient kingdom of Mari, on the Euphrates Valley.

Cuneiform tablet, giving a list of food rations, found at the site of Tell Beydar/Ancient Nabada,  in the region of the Khabour Valley in north eastern Syria.
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2000 - 1600 BC (Middle Bronze Age)

Cylinder seal, made of cornelian and gold, with golden caps depicting religious scene, from the site of Tell Hariri/Ancient kingdom of Mari, on the Euphrates Valley.

Basalt stone stela, so-called “Stela of Ishtar”, from the site of Tell Mardikh /Ancient kingdom of Ebla in the region of north western Syria
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1600 - 1200 BC (Late Bronze Age)

Cuneiform tablet sealed in an envelope. It includes a sealing contract with the seals of the witnesses being rolled out on the envelope. From the site of Tell Ashara/ Ancient kingdom of Terqa on the Euphrates Valleu

Divine figurine statute, in bronze and gold, depicting the god “Baʿal” or “El” meaning the “master”, known to be the master of the Syrian pantheon during that period. From the site of  Ras Shamra/Ancient kingdom of Ugarit on the Syrian coast.
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Iron AgeTo the top

1000 - 720 BC (Aramaic / Syro-Hitite)

Decorative plaque with sphinx; a winged lion with human female face. This wonderful object was found on the site of Arsalan Tash / Ancient kingdom of Hadatu in northern Syria
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720 - 539 BC (Neo Assyrian / Neo Babylonian)

Massive basalt stone statue depicting a standing lion in position of attack, the statue was found on the site of Hama /Ancient kingdom of Hamath.
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Persian PeriodTo the top

539 - 333 BC (Persian)

Sarcophagus in terra cotta with the cover modeled in the shape of human head. The object was found at the site of ʿAmrit /Ancient Marthus on the Syrian coast.
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To the top Classical

333 - 64 BC  (Hellenistic)

Cosmetique equipment and flutes, made of ivory and found in the region of Latakia on the Syrian coast.
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64 BC - 395 CE (Roman)

Helmet with mask, made of silver and iron, from the city of Homs/ roman Emesa. Homs was an important economic center in the region on north western Syria.
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395 - 634 CE   (Byzantine)

Bas relief, depicting funeral banquet scene, made of limestone, and known as “the tomb of ‘Alaineh family”. It was found at the site of Palmyra to the east of Homs in the Syrian desert.

A treasure of coins and jewellery, made of gold, it was found in the region of Idlib in north western Syria. The region of northern Syria is known to be the scene of a significant urban expansion during the Byzantine period and wonderful sites such as the “archaeological park of Dead cities” attest to such expansion.
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To the top Islamic Period

661 - 750 CE (Umayyad dynasty)      

A fragment of a sculptured bird (stucco). This fragment is a part of other decorations that were found in the Qasr Al-Hayr Al-Gharbi in the region of Palmyra.
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750 - 1176 CE (Abbasid dynasty)

A green colored glass bowl, made of glass, and found in the region of Raqqa at the palace of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid. The discovered objects in Raqqa attest to developed glass manufacture.
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1176 - 1260 CE (Ayyubid dynasty)

Decorative ceramic, a bowl with the central motif of a hare, found at the region of Qasr al-Hayar al-Sharqi in the region of Palmyra.
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1260 - 1516 CE (the "Crusades" / Mamluk dynasty)

Ceramic vessel, probably a “pilgrim flask” decorated with lily in the middle, a common motif during the Mamluk period. The vessel was found in the region of Aleppo.

Astrolabe, made of copper, this instrument was used to determine the direction of holly Mecca and it attests to the highly developed astronomic skills by the Arabic-Islamic scholars during that period.
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To the top Ottoman period


Ottomans conquered Syria in 1516, starting a long period of submission which lasted till the Arabic Revolt in 1916. The image shows a Manuscript of the Islamic scholar Ibn ǧazleh dealing with medical problems and diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The manuscript belongs to the Al-Ahmadiya library in Aleppo.
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To the top Modern Time


In 1923 Syria (and Lebanon) fall to the French mandate, which lasted till the independence that was proclaimed on 17th April 1946.
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2011 - current time

The outbreak of the Syrian conflict, the war which rages across the country had a considerable impact on the country's archaeological and cultural heritage, several sites including the UNESCO world heritage sites, were damaged with the severest destruction taking place in the
Old City of Aleppo and Homs. Archaeological sites were plundered and looted especially in the northern and north eastern parts of the country. In 2012 - 2013 UNESCO
carried out a series of activities which reflect the concern of the international community towards the conflict. On the 19th of June 2013, the World Heritage Committee decided to place the six World Heritage sites of the
Syrian Arab Republic on the List of World Heritage in Danger so as to draw attention to the risks they are facing because of the situation in the country.