Human Adaptation in Climatically Marginal Environments of late-5th  to 3rd Millennium BC Syria and Jordan  

01 October 2016 → 30 September 2019
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Archaeology
    • Theory and methodology of archaeology
    • Other history and archaeology
Human activity landscapes
Project description

The late-5th to 3rd millennium BC saw complex dynamics in nomadic and settled lifestyles in the  semi-arid and arid steppe regions of Syria and Jordan, when large, often fortified cities emerged in  several areas, while nomadic practices waxed and waned. To survive in these climatically uncertain  environments of low and strongly fluctuating rainfall, populations in the steppe needed to  constantly adapt their subsistence methods, leading to subsequent impacts on their social,  economic, and political organisations. This project examines the origins and effects of human  activity in these landscapes during this period, its variant forms, and causal factors, by conducting  a holistic examination of the Syrian-Jordanian steppe using satellite imagery, elevation data, aerial  photographs, and maps. This is supplemented by existing and future archaeological excavation and  survey fieldwork on the ground from three case-study regions: northeastern Syria, western-central  Syria, and northeastern Jordan. Many of the results from this past fieldwork have only recently  been made available, making this the ideal time for conducting such research. The added bonus of  an archaeological surface survey specifically oriented to this project from my own fieldwork in  northeastern Jordan further benefits the study. Such an investigation of the societal effects of  adapting to climatically marginal environments has ramifications and potential solutions for future  challenges in similar conditions.