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Published on October 3, 2007

Author: Jeremiah

Source: authorstream.com

Slide1:  Avulsions and Ancient Settlement Patterns in Lower Mesopotamia Galina S. Morozova http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html Slide2:  http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id1.html Slide3:  (Adams, 1981; Sanlaville, 1989; Cole & Gasche, 1998; Uchupi et al., 1999) Slide4:  Islamic Sasanian Parthian/Seleucid Neo-Bab/Achaemenid Early Neo-Babylonian Post Cassite Cassite Old Babylonian Isin-Larsa/UR III Akkadian Early Dynastic I-III Jemder Nasr Late Uruk Early- Middle Uruk Ubaid 200.1+ha 10.1-20 ha 20.1-40 ha 40.1-200 ha 0.1-4 ha 4.1-10 ha % of settlements Distribution of settlements by size during different periods of Mesopotamian history (based on Adams, 1981) periods Onset of settlement Slide5:  Avulsion is a major river diversion to a lower elevation on the floodplain in which the older channel becomes abandoned and a new channel is initiated new channel belt avulsed channel belt avulsion point A A’ A A’ Cross section along AA’ Slide6:  Baghdad Tigris Euphrates Larsa Uruk Ur Laham Eridu Bao Tibra Lagash Nina Girsu Umma Zabalam Jidr Nippur Isin Kisurra Shuruppak Adab Kut Babylon Borsippa Kish Jamdet Nasr Dayr Fallujah Samarra Tigris Euphrates Hilla Shat al-Garraf Purattum Irnina Kish Branch Pallukkatu Sippar Kutha Hindiyh Najaf (Gibson, 1972; Oates, 979; Adams, 1981; Saggs, 1988; Northedge et al., 1990; Cole & Gasche, 1998) Nasyriyah Kut present cities Larsa ancient cities Slide7:  Factors that may affect settlement distribution Avulsion rate (abrupt vs gradual abandonment of former channel) Avulsion frequency (number of avulsions during certain period of time) Avulsion style (reoccupational vs progradational) - reoccupation: flow occupies channel previously existing channel on floodplain (e.g. former major channel or smaller stream channel) - progradation: avulsion belt is deposited following avulsion, followed by formation of a new single channel; Channel pattern following avulsion (single channel or multiple channel system) Slide8:  Three scenarios resulting from avulsions with different implications for settlement distribution: A. Single channel with crevasse splays or two-channel system in case of gradual avulsion; B. Progradational avulsion followed by development avulsion belts; C. Gradual and/or frequent avulsions followed by long-lasting coexistence (102-103 yrs) of many active channels and avulsion belts. crevasse splay avulsion belt Ancient Mesopotamian Cities:  Ancient Mesopotamian Cities Were located on river banks and surrounded by their countryside with ‘corona’ of irrigation agriculture; sustaining area per individual was estimated between 0.5-1.5 ha/person; daily travel distances from city to countryside did not exceed 3-4 km for maximum agricultural productivity; Reconstruction of UR (www.taisei.co.jp/cg_e/ancient_world/ur/aur.html) (Jacobsen, 1958; Oppenheim, 1969; Chisholm, 1970; Johnson, 1973; Adams & Nissen, 1972; Adams, 1985). Large city with about 40,000 inhabitants required 200-600 km2 of nearby irrigated land Slide10:  Gravity-flow irrigation Channels confined by levees flowing higher than elevation of surrounding floodbasins; Artificial channels or levee breaks at crevasse channels are used as intake points for irrigation water; Irrigational enclaves develop within distal levee and crevasse splays where soils are better drained and undergo less salinization; Relatively small naturally- irrigated area needed for rural settlements, e.g. ~5-15 km2 for a settlement of 1000. Slide11:  Sizes of settlements in relation to sizes of naturally-irrigated area (gravity-flow irrigation) Crevasse splays - size: several km2; - splay with size of 10km2 can support up to 200 people; - everyday walking distance did not have to exceed 3-4 km; Avulsion belts - size: several 100 km2; - avulsion belt with size of 600km2 can support more than 40,000 people; - everyday travel ‘out’ and ‘in’ the city could be by boat along anastomosed channels; - anastomosed channels could be kept flowing by desilting and regulating of inflow and outflow channels; city rural 10 km new channel avulsed channel Slide12:  Consequences of avulsion scenarios for settlement distribution: A. Single channel: no increase in settlement size, some increase in settlement number in case of gradual avulsion, rural settlements at crevasse splays under natural conditions; in desert climate extensive canal construction is needed to increase the irrigated area of floodplain; B. Avulsion belt: local increase in naturally-irrigated area of floodplain and settlement size, city and rural settlements at crevasse splays; C. Multiple channels with crevasse splays, many avulsion belts: dramatic increase in naturally-irrigated area of floodplain, increase in settlement number and settlement sizes, many cities and rural settlements. rural urban Slide13:  Euphrates Tigris ? Persian Gulf (Larsen & Evans, 1978; Adams, 1981; Aqrawi, 1996, 1999, 2001) before ~6000 BP, Ubaid period: prior to major onset of settlement Zagros Mountains Arabian Platform Jazira Plateau alluvial fan eolian sediments folded Cenozoic rocks Paleozoic rocks Slide14:  Euphrates Tigris (Larsen & Evans, 1978; Adams, 1981; Aqrawi, 1996, 1999, 2001) ~6000-~5300 BP, Late Ubaid-Middle Uruk periods Persian Gulf ? Zagros Mountains Arabian Platform Jazira Plateau Hammar Formation eolian alluvial fan folded Cenozoic rocks Paleozoic rocks Slide15:  (Larsen & Evans, 1978; Adams, 1981; Aqrawi, 1996, 1999, 2001) ~5300-~3600 BP, LateUruk-Old Babylonian periods Tigris Euphrates ? Persian Gulf ? Zagros Mountains Arabian Platform Jazira Plateau Hammar Formation alluvial fan eolian Paleozoic rocks folded Cenozoic rocks Slide16:  (Larsen & Evans, 1978; Adams, 1981; Aqrawi, 1996, 1999, 2001) ~3600-~1000 BP, Cassite-mid Islamic Zagros Mountains Jazira Plateau Hammar Formation alluvial fan marsh sediments alluvial fans valleys abandoned deltaic plains eolian settlements: a) rural, b) urban marsh canals Tigris Euphrates Arabian Platform eolian Paleozoic rocks Folded Cenozoic rocks Slide17:  Preliminary Conclusions - avulsions and resulting channel and sedimentation patterns affected the distribution and sizes of irrigated floodplain, quality of soils, and, therefore, settlement patterns; - progradational avulsions with avulsion belts created conditions for local increase in naturally-irrigated area with well-drained soils, generation of food surpluses and population migration toward area possibly leading to appearance of urban settlements; - during and after abandonment of avulsion belts and multiple channel networks in favor of two-channel or single-channel system, extensive canal construction was required to maintain urban and many rural settlements, eventually abandoned (probably due to increased inefficiency) during mid-Islamic period. http://www.upennmuseum.com/ cuneiform.cgi

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