The past and present landscapes of the Wadi Faynan: geoarchaeological approaches and frameworks

el-Rishi, Hwedi, Hunt, Chris, Gilbertson, David, Grattan, John, McLaren, Sue, Pyatt, Brian, Duller, Geoff, Gillmore, Gavin and Phillips, Paul (2007) The past and present landscapes of the Wadi Faynan: geoarchaeological approaches and frameworks. In: Barker, Graeme , Gilbertson, David and Mattingly, David, (eds.) Archaeology and Desertification. The Wadi Faynan Landscape Survey, Southern Jordan. London, UK : Council for British Research in the Levant. pp. 59-96. (Levant Supplementary Series, Wadi F(6)) ISBN 9781842172865


This chapter sets out the rationale behind the geoarchaeological studies carried out to establish the nature and significance of desertification in the Wadi Faynan landscape, and summarizes the team's principal findings. As a result, it has the following major objectives. The first is to address the academic and practical issues that concern the relationships between field realities and research goals in geoarchaeological field studies. The second is to set out for the period of most intense human activity in the Faynan - the Holocene - an overall palaeoenvironmental framework within which the more detailed accounts in Chapters 7-11 can be understood. The third is to describe the project's geochemical evidence for the pollution of the modern landscape by past metallurgical activities, and to discuss the potential implicatons for this evidence for understanding the nature and scale of mining and smelting in the past. The last goal is to investigate the Wadi Faynan and regional data sets for recurrent patterns or anomalies in terms of the complex potential interactions between climatic fluctuations, vegetation, and human activities from the late Pleistocene through the Holocene to the present day.

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