What can be achieved in five years with co-operation and simple technology by local farmers
Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years
By W. C. Lowdermilk (free copy Link)
The Hundred Dead Cities
Still further to the north in Syria, we came upon a region where erosion had done its worst in an area of more than a million acres of rolling limestone country between Hama, Aleppo, and Antioch. French archaeologists, Father Mattern and others, found in this manmade desert more than 100 dead cities, and called it “cent villes mortes,” or a “Hundred Dead Cities.” Butler of Princeton rediscovered this region a generation ago and aroused interest in the area. These were not cities as we know them, but villages and market towns. Here by field examination at Bare and Hirbet Haas we found that soils had been washed off to limestone bed rock to a depth of from 3 to 6 feet. The ruins of these towns were not buried as other ruins such as we saw elsewhere, but were left as stark skeletons in beautifully cut stone, standing high on bare rock. Measurements from doorsills to the foundation rock indicated that soils to a depth of 3 to 6 feet had been washed off and swept away in winter floods, leaving a region of ghost cities. Here erosion had done its worst. If the soils had remained, even though the cities were destroyed and the populations dispersed, the area might be repeopled again and cities rebuilt. But now that soils are gone, all is gone.