The area covered in this image (the SRTM 90m terrain model) is situated at a crucial meeting-point between the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean, where low-lying land occurs adjacent to the sea. Since the same colours are used consistently throughout this series to indicate height, the lowland areas are tinted blue. The sea (which is almost the same colour as the coastal plain in this hypsometric model) can be recognised because of the white patches (resulting from radar reflection over the water) which follow the shoreline of the Bay of Iskenderun in the upper left of the image. The dark blue area to the lower left of the image was largely occupied in historical times by a lake, a remnant of which survives today.
The Amuq (Amık) plain in the Turkish province of Hatay forms the northernmost part of the rift valley which separates the African from the Arabian tectonic plates, drained further south by the River Jordan river (which, confined to the rift, runs into the Dead Sea, where the water evaporates). This northern part is drained by the River Orontes, which turns through a gap in the mountains to meet the Mediterranean below Antioch (Antakya). Further to the east, a shallow valley on the edge of the steppe belt in Syria links this area with the middle Euphrates. To the south-east, a further area of northern Syria suitable for settlement because of its groundwater resources surrounds modern Aleppo, Halab. A further concentration of settlement in the coastal plain occurs to the north-west, in Cilicia (top left). All of these flat, well-watered areas are marked by the occurrence of tell settlements.
The tell sites of the Amuq were first systematically explored by Robert Braidwood in the 1930s, and this work has been continued by Aslihan Yener of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, and her collaborators. See the following websites:
This northern segment of the Amuq basin, drained by the Kara Su, has a number of tells visible around the margins of the former lake and along the valley to the east. SRTM terrain model, c. 1:200,000. Compare the results of survey mapping: Figure 3 (p. 172) in K.A. Yener, C. Edens, T. Harrison, J. Verstraete, and T.J. Wilkinson, "The Amuq Valley Regional Project 1995-1998", American Journal of Archaeology Volume 104 No. 2 April 2000.
This draped Landsat image shows the setting of the tells today.