Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Big Circles

Image: Google Earth. Please click to enlarge.

Philip and Bradbury (2010) published a large nearly perfect circular enclosure in their survey of the region surrounding Homs in Syria. In the satellite imagery dated to April 2003 in Google Earth its full circuit is almost completely visible and can be measured at over 340m in diameter. The survey dated the site from associated material evidence to the 4th or early 3rd millennia BC. The most recent imagery in August 2010 shows that all trace of the site has been obliterated by the increasing use of the region for agriculture.

Philip and Bradbury note no other circles of similar size in Syria, or further afield in Jordan – their largest counterparts are c. 100 m. However, several – perhaps as many as 12, are known, all of them in Jordan, and a few have been published.

All but one of these unusual sites have been found from aerial photographs or satellite imagery. The characteristic feature of these Big Circles is their size – apart from one that is c. 220-250m in diameter, all of the others are in the range of c. 350-450m with several almost exactly 400m. Most are near-perfect circles, they have low encircling walls, no clear evidence for any original break in the circuit and no certain evidence of any internal structures. The slender evidence tends to point – as with the Syrian example, to a prehistoric date

We are currently mapping, describing and analyzing these sites as an aerial archaeological research project. If you've got any ideas, please feel free to drop us a comment!

-D.L. Kennedy, R.E. Banks

This blog entry was derived from an in progress publication by D.L. Kennedy 'Big Circles'. For further information please consult: Philip, G. and Bradbury, J. (2010) 'Pre-Classical activity in the basalt landscape of the Homs Region, Syria', Levant, 42.2: 136-169.

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