Prehistory and antiquity
Discoveries made at the Paleolithic site of Lattamneh on the Orontes and in caves near Palmyra attest to the fact of human activity in Syria more than half a million years ago. The most recent archaeological excavations in the basin of the Euphrates (at Moureibet and Abu-Houreiera) have brought to light the oldest Mesolithic house, dating from the ninth millenary.
A decisive step forward came with what specialists call the Halaf stage (fifth millenary), discovered near the sources of the Khabour in Upper Syria, traces of which are also found on the Mediterranean coast and on the left bank of the Euphrates.
Traces of the Uruk civilization (fourth millenary) in Southern Mesopotamia were recently discovered in two sites on the right bank of the Upper Euphrates, Habouba Kebira South and Gebal Arouda. The town partially uncovered at Habouba has a splendid surrounding wall dating from the fourth millenium, the like of which has not been found even at Uruk.
In the third millenium, parallel with the Akkadian period in Mesopotamia, there were two important political and cultural centres in Syria: the Kingdom of Mari (Tell Hariri) and the town of Ebla (Tell Mardikh).