Ugarit Palace Entrance

Ugarit Palace Entrance. By Disdero (talk · contribs) – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Eight thousand years in the history of ancient Syria are on display in a magnificent exhibit that is touring six American cities. Collected under the title “From Ebla to Damascus,” its objects vividly illustrate a sweep of civilizations ranging from the simple settlements of the Neolithic seventh millennium B.C. to the great Mesopotamian cultures eventually conquered by the Assyrians, the Babylonians and Alexander the Great, to the rise of Christianity and the impact of Islam. The objects have been assembled from museums throughout Syria, and generously loaned by the Syrian government to form one of the most comprehensive shows of ancient art to travel to American museums in recent years. Together these artifacts—whether scraps of clay with imprints of seals or writing, or large statues and wall paintings—allow us to take our own trip into the antiquity of a country that was, to the ancient Near East, the site of the Garden of Eden.

The cultural world defined as ancient Syria extended over an area similar to that of modern Syria, for the boundaries then as today were defined by geographical features. It is a country divided into four topographical zones.

Read the rest of From Ebla to Damascus: The Archaeology of Ancient Syria in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.