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Syria is a country located in the Middle East on the shore of Mediterranean Sea and bordered, from the north down to the west, by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. It is one of the oldest inhabited regions in the world with archaeological finds dating the first human habitation at c. 700,000 years ago. The Dederiyeh Cave near Aleppo has produced a number of significant finds, such as bones, placing Neanderthals in the region at that time and shows continual occupation of the site over a substantial period. The first evidence of modern humans appears c. 100,000 years ago as evidenced by finds of human skeletons, ceramics, and crude tools. There seem to have been mass migrations throughout the region that impacted the various communities but, as there is no written record of the period, it is unknown why they happened if they did occur. These migrations are suggested by archaeological finds throughout the region showing significant changes in the manufacture of ceramics and tools found at various sites. These developments, however, could be just as easily explained by cultural exchange between tribes in a region or simply similar developments in the manufacturing process rather than large-scale migration. The historian Soden notes that, “Scholars have sought to deduce especially important developments, for example, folk migrations, from cultural changes which can be read in archaeological remains, particularly in ceramic materials…Yet there can be frequent and substantial changes in the ceramic style, even if no other people has come onto the scene” . It is thought that climate change in the area c. 15,000 years ago may have influenced humans to abandon the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and initiate an agricultural one or that migrating tribes introduced agriculture to different regions. Soden writes, “We term 'prehistoric' those epochs in which nothing had yet been written down, without thereby assuming that events of great significance had not yet taken place” . The significance of the mass migration theory is that it explains how agriculture became so widespread in the region when it did but, again, this theory is far from proven. It is clear, however, that an agrarian civilization was already thriving in the region prior to the domestication of animals c. 10,000 BCE.

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