An 8000-year history of landscape, climate and copper exploitation in the Middle East: the Wadi Faynan and the Wadi Dana National Reserve in southern Jordan

Christopher Hunt, D.D. Gilbertson, H.A. El-Rishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Investigations of geomorphology, geoarchaeology, pollen, palynofacies, and charcoal indicate the comparative scales and significance of palaeoenvironmental changes throughout the Holocene at the junction between the hyper-arid hot Wadi â??Arabah desert and the front of the Mediterranean-belt Mountains of Edom in southern Jordan through a series of climatic changes and episodes of intense mining and smelting of copper ores. Early Holocene alluviation followed the impact of Neolithic grazers but climate drove fluvial geomorphic change in the Late Holocene, with a major arid episode corresponding chronologically with the â??Little Ice Ageâ?? causing widespread alluviation. The harvesting of wood for charcoal may have been sufficiently intense and widespread to affect the capacity of intensively harvested tree species to respond to a period of greater precipitation deduced for the Roman-Byzantine period - a property that affects both taphonomic and biogeographical bases for the interpretation of palynological evidence from arid-lands with substantial industrial histories. Studies of palynofacies have provided a record of human and climatic causes of soil erosion, and the changing intensity of the use of fire over time. The patterns of vegetational, climatic change and geomorphic changes are set out for this area for the last 8000 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1306-1338
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume34 (8)
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology

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