Session: #758

Theme & Session Format

The archaeology of material culture, bodies and landscapes
Session format:
Session, made up of a combination of papers, max. 15 minutes each

Title & Content

Human-Water interconnections in the dry environments of the Near East and Central Asia
Water has always been a critical agent in the rise, development, and collapse of ancient civilizations. This was particularly true in the arid environments of the Near East and Central Asia. In the last decades, human-water interconnection has been analyzed in various ways. The analysis and reconstruction of ancient irrigation systems were essential steps in researching settlement development in regions where rain-fed agriculture was insufficient for basic subsistence.
Although Wittfogel’s theory on the political centralization of water management has been largely dismissed today, he fostered substantial research into the relationship between irrigation systems and social complexity. Since the 1990s advances in field data recording techniques, remote sensing, aerial photography and drones have all contributed to a significant development in studying the archaeological landscapes of the Near East and Central Asia. This multidisciplinary approach signed a new perspective in this field of study and made it possible to grasp the landscape in a digital form.
This session aims to better explore and expand our current knowledge about the different aspects related to water in dry-lands of Near East and Central Asia. We welcome papers that relate to water management and different methodological and theoretical approaches for both regions. The session may include (but not limited to) hydrogeoarchaeology; agent-based model for irrigation system; irrigation as a proxy in evaluating the multi-temporal environmental evolution; remote sensing; marshland environments; water as path-deterministic agent; social complexity; human niches construction; ethnoarchaeology and heritage study that takes into account all the aspects of the human-water relation.
water; water management; marshland; irrigation
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:


Main organiser:
Nazarij Bulawka (Poland) 1
Roberto Arciero (Italy) 2
Leah Holguin (United Kingdom) 3
Sufyan Al Karaimeh (Netherlands) 2
Dr. Simone Mantellini (Italy) 4
Dr. Steven Markofsky (United States) 5
1. University of Warsaw, Faculty of History, Institute of Archaeology, Department of Near Eastern Archaeology
2. Leiden University, Faculty of Archaeology, Department of World Archaeology, Archaeology of the Near East
3. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology
4. University of Bologna, Department of History and Cultures - DiSCi
5. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona