The Orontes Valley
The Orontes Valley is arguably the most archaeologically significant region in
Syria. The sheer number of tell sites that dot the landscape - many of
which remain unexcavated - indicate the regionís importance particularly
in the Bronze and Iron Ages.
The region is home to a number of vast sites such as Tell As, Qatna, and the as yet largely unexplored Tell Asharne (the ancient Tunip).
Together with the north-central region around Aleppo, the sites in the Orontes Valley form the core of indigenous Syrian civilization which is associated with the Amorites of the 3rd and 2nd millennia and the Aramaeans of the 1st millennium.
The reason for its importance is the river itself, which begins its life in the mountains of Lebanon, and provides a copious water supply to some of the richest agricultural land in Syria.
The Orontes Valley and the Lake of Homs- (J.Tubb, 2001)
View from Tell Nebi Mend, ancient Qadesh, looking towards the Lake of Homs. The lake is in fact artificial. It was created in the Hellenistic period (3rd - 2nd centuries BC) by the construction of a barrage, or dam, across the Orontes River. Lying half-submerged in this lake is the site of Tell et-Tin, which was excavated in 1894 by French archaeologist Joseph-Etienne Gaultier who believed that Tell et-Tin was Qadesh, rather than the nearby Tell Nebi Mend.
Last modified 08/09/2002