Art of fresco in Syria goes back 11,000 years

July 25, 2013 – Damascus, (SANA-H. Said) – The genuine Syrians’ contributions to building the human civilization exceed that of creating the first cuneiform alphabet in the world to contributing to the art of painting on walls, also called frescos.

The oldest wall drawing in the world goes back to the Neolithic (New Stone) Era of around 11 thousand years, which indicates that the identification of this era in the Middle East region, particularly in north Syria, preceded that in Europe.

Frescos found in Syria are among the oldest discovered so far in the Middle East region.



Director of Labs Department at the General Directorate of Archeology and Museums, Dr. Mahmoud al-Sayyed, said the site of Tall Ja’det al-Maghara on the left bank of the Euphrates river in the north was where the oldest frescos discovered in Syria.

Al-Sayyed stressed that those paintings, discovered in 2002, go back 11 thousand years at least, pointing out that the object of the paintings is geometrical as they do not depict neither people nor animals and that the colors used are limited to white, black and red.

A group of wall paintings were found in 1997 on the floor of a house in the archeological site of Tall Halouleh in the Middle Euphrates region. The paintings go to the Neolithic period between 8800-8500 B.C.

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The paintings, depicting 23 women, represent the oldest drawing by a man known in the Middle East region. They highlights the role of the Syrian woman and her contribution to the society.

Al-Sayyed alos noted that a Neolithic era drawing of ostriches and cranes, painted with the red color on a while background, was found in the archeological site of Tall Baqras on the right bank of the Euphrates River.

With the evolution of the concept of civilization and the emergence of cities, he said, frescos were used in decorating houses, palaces and temples.

An example of those paintings was that one discovered in Tall al-Hariri site at the palace of King Zimri-Lim, King of Mari.

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Syria assumed a prominent position in the history of fresco art, according to al-Sayyed.

The most important among wall paintings in these periods, he noted, were those found in Dura-Europos site in the Middle Euphrates region in the southeast of Syria, 35 km away from the Syrian-Iraqi borders.