Tell Qaramel

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Tell Qaramel
Tell Qaramel is located in Syria
Tell Qaramel
Shown within Syria
Location Aleppo Governorate, Syria
Coordinates 36°22′41″N 37°16′30″E / 36.378°N 37.275°E / 36.378; 37.275
Type settlement
Periods Neolithic
Site notes
Excavation dates 1999—2007
Archaeologists Ryszard F. Mazurowski and Youssef kanjou

Tell Qaramel (also Tel Qaramel or Tel al-Qaramel, Arabic: تل القرامل‎) is a tell, or archaeological mound, located in the north of present-day Syria, 25 km north of Aleppo and about 65 km south of the Taurus mountains, adjacent to the river Quweiq.[1][2][3][4]


A survey in the late 1970s found evidence of settlement at the site from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period through to the Hellenistic period. The later phases of occupation are closely associated with the mound of the tell itself; however, the pre-pottery Neolithic phase is associated with a wider area of about 3 hectares, extending to the south and south-west of the tell.[5] It is this area that has been the focus of detailed investigation since 1999 by a joint Polish-Syrian team led by Prof. Ryszard F. Mazurowski of Warsaw University and Dr Youssef Kanjou from DGAM, Syria.

Before the excavations began, it was assumed that permanent sedentary settlements would occur only in combination with the first farming of cereals, and the first domestication and keeping of animals such as sheep and goats, marking the start of the Neolithic period, part of a transition between the proto-Neolithic and Pre-Pottery Neolithic A cultures. However the remains of the structures uncovered at Tell Qaramel appear to be older than this, giving the first evidence of permanent stone-built settlement.[3][4] Particularly striking are the remains of a succession of five round, stone-built towers, each over 6 metres in diameter, with stone walls over 1.5m thick. These have been carbon-dated to between the eleventh millennium and 9650 BC. This dating makes the towers roughly two thousand years older than the stone tower found at Jericho, which was previously believed to be the oldest known tower structure in the world.[1] The site is roughly contemporary to that of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey.

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  1. ^ a b Anna Ślązak (21 June 2007). "Yet another sensational discovery by Polish archaeologists in Syria". Science in Poland service, Polish Press Agency. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  2. ^ R.F. Mazurowski (2007). "Pre- and Protohistory in the Near East: Tell Qaramel (Syria)". Newsletter 2006. Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, Warsaw University. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  3. ^ a b Magdalena Frender-Majewska (5 November 2009). "Qaramel: Five Tower Settlement". Newsweek (Poland) (in Polish). Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  4. ^ a b "Qaramel: Oldest City in the World". National Geographic (Poland) (in Polish). 27 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  5. ^ R.F. Mazurowski, Tell Qaramel: Preliminary report on the first season, 1999. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 11, 285–296

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