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Beneath every footstep in Syria is an ancient civilization, says German archaeologist.

Byline: ANI

Washington, October 26 (ANI): A German archaeologist has said that beneath every footstep in Syria is an ancient civilization, with the ancient monuments in the region telling the stories of the many peoples and civilizations that lived in it.

According to a report in the Global Arab Network, the archaeologist in question is Markus Gschwind, head of the Syrian-German Archaeology Expedition working at al-Rafina in Hama.

He notes that the saying, "Beneath every footstep in Syria is an ancient civilization," is repeated around Germany, as most Germans consider Syria the most historically deep-rooted country in the Mediterranean.

In a statement to SANA, Gschwind said that he has been living and excavating in Syria for six years, each day discovering many secrets from the history of mankind.

He said that the expedition is currently undertaking surveying the ancient city of al-Rafina, which was one of the largest gathering points of Roman armies during the Roman era.

Excavations in the area began in 2005 with the purpose of making an archeological map of the old city, detailing the various buildings, fortifications, streets, temples, camps and burial grounds, all of which are still buried beneath the earth.

Gschwind underlined the historic significance of al-Rafina, which was mentioned in ancient Roman texts as the birthplace of Roman emperor Elagabalus and other Roman emperors of Syrian descent, mainly the children of Julia Domna, emperors Geta and Caracalla.

Surveys in 2005 revealed the remains of pillars, burial grounds, walls and clay objects, with further surveys using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) serving to make an accurate map of the site, which will help facilitate and reduce the costs of future expeditions, according to Gschwind.

He went on to note that the ancient city's strategic position in the center of Syria allowed it to be the headquarters of the Legio III Gallica, the largest group of Roman forces in the area and the first line of defense against the Persian Empire from the first to the third century AD.

Gschwind concluded by noting that the distinguishing point between Syrian archeological sites and European ones is that the Romans used to build their cities in Syria on the ruins of older cities, as opposed to building new cities as they did in Europe, which is why ancient Syrian cities are so deep-rooted and date back to much older times that their European counterparts. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Oct 26, 2009
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