The article presents new evidence for activity of 4th and 3rd millennium BC date, from the basaltic landscape west of the Orontes River, near modern Homs, which provides an indication of the nature and extent of human activity at this time outside the main riverine basins. Through a consideration of the potential of the landscape, an analysis of the form, distribution and function of the main categories of structural evidence, and of the associated material culture, the article seeks to understand the nature of the activity undertaken in the area at this time. The material culture evidence is used to investigate the probable connections linking the communities exploiting this landscape with those in other parts of the Levant, including those occupying the marl landscape on the east side of the Orontes River. A consideration of contemporary activity in the Hauran, Jaulan and Negev, sets activity in the Homs basalts in the context of a region-wide increase in the exploitation of 'sub-optimal' landscapes, which lay beyond the prime agricultural areas. \u
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