JCJC - Jeunes chercheuses & jeunes chercheurs

Prospection géophysique et étude des centres urbains de Syrie antique – PROGECESA

Submission summary

The project PROGECESA aims to develop the role of the geophysical survey for the study of urban settlements from ancient Near East. The magnetic survey, whose realization is fast, less expensive and non destructive, allows the acquisition of new data on a site: the magnetic image is today on of the rare sources which offers an overall and even sometimes integral vision of a city planning (organization of the quarters, plan of the fortifications) and also the detail of the built areas (repartition of the rooms inside a building). Three main aims are selected: 1. Renew the archaeological documentation from magnetic surveys carried out on five archaeological sites representative of the urban culture of ancient Syria from the Bronze Age to the classical period. Early Bronze Age : Al-Rawda, Tell Sheirat Late Bronze Age: Ugarit/Ras Shamra Iron Age/classical period: Amrith/Marathus, Cyrrhus 2. Introduce a protocol of analysis and of interpretation for the magnetic maps carried out on selected sites of the project. The question is to include the magnetic image into the archaeological research about urbanism and domestic dwelling. For each site, and following the specificities of each period, we propose to establish a protocol of analysis based on the space logic of the network of the streets (circulation, connectivity…) and on the internal organization of the quarters (identification between private and public buildings, delimitation of the domestic units). 3. Better know the evolution of city planning by making a diachronic study. It is about the experimental part of our project: develop the use of the method of ground penetrating radar (differentiation of the successive levels of construction) to complete the magnetic maps which document only the last state of occupation. Methodology 1. Geophysical surveys on the sites in relation to the archaeological missions working on the sites. 2. Interpretation of the geophysical data in relation to the existing archaeological documentation: city planning (realization of 'axial maps'), domestic dwelling (sociological approach inspired of the methodology established by the British school of Space Syntax). The interdisciplinarity holds an important place in this project: the interpretation of the geophysical maps is based on a close dialogue between geophysicists and archaeologists. In addition, within the case of the study of cities belonging to a wide chronological sequence, it is important to open perspectives to a diachronic study and to emphasize the urban patterns and the different urban living identified in Syria between the 3rd millennium and the Hellenistic/Roman time.

Project coordination

Christophe BENECH (Organisme de recherche)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Help of the ANR 43,950 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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