BSY_FB_16-15

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15

The site of Hâss is now occupied by a small
village built largely of fragments of the old town
many of which had been used during the middle
ages for a Saracenic town with a mosque. For
these Saracenic structures, all the houses of the
ancient town were destroyed, at least as much
of them as was above the surface. But large
substructures, quite unlike any we have
seen in Syria exist in a number of places
showing that they were the rule in this district.

The character of the strata in this particular
region seems likely to have produced this feature
of construction. The solid limestone rock is here
covered with a thin stratum of chalky limestone
which leaks in through horizontal layers. Between
these strata there are in many places large
low caverns so that it was impossible to build
directly upon the surface. The builders there-
fore were obliged to excavate through the upper
stratum and lay their foundations upon the
solid rock. This formed a large area like
a cellar which they arched over and laid large

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