Jesse Casana. “The Late Roman Landscape of the Northern Levant: A view from Tell Qarqur and the lower Orontes River Valley.” Oxford Journal of Archaeology, volume 33, issue 2 (May 2014): pp. 193–219.
This paper presents a review and synthesis of archaeological surveys in western Syria and southern Turkey, alongside finds from recent excavations at Tell Qarqur, Syria, revealing regional patterns of late Roman settlement and land use in the lower Orontes River Valley. Survey data show that the late Roman period witnessed a peak in settlement density, with the extension of occupation into previously unoccupied areas and widespread agricultural intensification. Excavations of a typical lowland site at Tell Qarqur reveal an opulent building complex, possibly a church, with a columned hall, elaborate mosaic floor and frescoed interior. Analysis explores the process of agricultural intensification during the late Roman period, the relationship between lowland settlements and the better-known Dead Cities of the limestone massif to the east, and the ultimate abandonment of the settlement system following the seventh century AD.