News / Middle East

Study Finds Crisis in Syria Has Ancient Precedent

Mannequins are set up to confuse snipers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of Aleppo, December 23, 2012. Mannequins are set up to confuse snipers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of Aleppo, December 23, 2012.
x
Mannequins are set up to confuse snipers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of Aleppo, December 23, 2012.
Mannequins are set up to confuse snipers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of Aleppo, December 23, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Drought, urban decline and government collapse ended Syria's central economic role in the Middle East 4200 years ago.  Research from the University of Sheffield in England points to striking parallels between today's war-torn Syria and political upheavals in the Bronze-Age Mesopotamian empire known as Akkadia.

Ellery Frahm, of the university's Department of Archeology, found the connection by studying the trade in obsidian in the cosmopolitan commercial center of Urkesh, in what is now northeastern Syria.

The volcanic glass, used to make razor-sharp cutting tools, came from six different volcanoes before the fall of the Akkadian Empire, which stretched through modern-day Iraq. 

As trade routes and regional governments collapsed, during what some historians say was a period of rising militarism and violence, the city was able to get obsidian from only two nearby sources, showing the impact of the crisis on the movement of people and goods. 

In addition, Frahm says, farming in the area then, as now, relied principally on rainfall rather than irrigation, and Akkadian harvests could not keep up with the region's increasing population.  He adds that with today's climate shifts causing increasing drought and with ever larger populations to feed, modern Syrian agriculture, too, is unsustainable. 

Frahm stresses that his work is not making light of the current violence in Syria.  Instead, he says, it is offering a way to understand what could lie ahead, by revealing how the country's ancient precursors reacted to their own internal and external crises.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid