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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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This research examines the impact of the early introduction and intensification of agriculture over a 6000 year period in the Khabur Basin of north eastern Syria. Working with more than 16 different archaeological investigations in this region and collaborating with other archaeologists, archaeobotanists, and paleo-climatologists, this work examines how the environmental and social impact of agriculture from the first introduction of domesticates into the region, around 7500 B.C. through the rise and fall of early urban society, around 3000 B.C. The work completed to date suggests that indigenous wild species survived in the region for more than 3000 years after the beginning of farming and herding in the region. The major environmental impact on indigenous fauna seems to happen after the development of a region-wide agricultural economy servicing emergent urban centers. The work has also shed light on the development of specialized pastoral economy in the region as part of the process of urban emergence. It has also provided the first archaeozoological evidence of the use of desert kites in the mass-killing of gazelle, a practice thought to have contributed to the extirpation of this once dominant wild herd animal from the region.

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