12,800 Years Ago: Comet Took Out Paleolithic Village

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A Comet May Have Destroyed This Paleolithic Village 12,800 Years Ago

by Javier Barbuzano / Eos/Smithsonianmag.com

Abu Hureyra is an important archaeological site in Syria, known for artifacts documenting early adoption of agriculture in the region. It may also be recognized as the only known human settlement to have been hit by a fragment of a comet.

The site, now under the waters of Lake Assad, was quickly excavated between 1972 and 1973 before construction of the Tabqa Dam flooded the area. During the excavation, archaeologists realized that there were really two sites, one on top of the other. The first was a Paleolithic settlement of hunter-gatherers, and the second was a farming town, with new buildings of a different style.

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