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(516 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Wolfram
Excavations from 1929 at Ras Shamra, 12 km. (8 mi.) north of Latakia on the coast of Syria, have brought to light the existence of the city-state of Ugarit. Ugarit was the center of a thriving economy. People lived there from the seventh millennium b.c. (Prepottery Neolithic), but the urban culture dates from the Bronze Age. In the 12th century b.c. various factors combined to overthrow it. The discovery of the Ras Shamra clay tablets was epoch making, for they were in a form of writing that was totally unfamiliar before 1929. The monuments derive from the 15th to the 13th centuries b.c. Besides…