Recent Turkish airstrikes on the Kurdish-held Afrin region of northern Syria have damaged an ancient temple, with 3,000-year-old stone carvings “blasted into fragments,” a watchdog group says.
The American Schools of Oriental Research’s (ASOR) Cultural Heritage Initiatives collaboration has been monitoring the destruction of monuments during the war in Syria. According to the group’s latest update, the temple of Ain Dara just south of Afrin suffered “heavy damage” after it was hit, sometime between Jan. 20 and Jan. 22.
The temple was built by a group of people known as the Aramaeans in the early first millennium B.C., after the collapse of the Hittite Empire, at a time when civilizations in the region were emerging from the Bronze Age and entering the Iron Age. [See Images of Ain Dara Temple Before and After Airstrikes]
Ain Dara’s walls are made up of basalt orthostats — massive, slab-like architectural blocks — that are elaborately carved on the interior and exterior with geometric designs, floral patterns, mythical creatures and animals like lions. The limestone pavings in the doorways between the temple’s chambers (the antecella and cella) were decorated with gigantic footprints, each 3 feet (0.9 meters) in length. Some biblical scholars have argued that the temple’s layout and decorations resemble descriptions of King Solomon’s fabled temple in scripture.
H/t reader squodgy:
“This collateral damage will probably get more coverage than the women and children.
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