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Water and territorial empires

The ability of the ancient territorial empires to control water management strategies has been proposed but not yet fully explored. Given that most of the evidence is derived from historical information, or from isolated, specific archaeological studies, a detailed map of ancient irrigation in northern Mesopotamia was needed. The present interdisciplinary study used techniques of remote sensing and GIS to generate this map. CORONA images (1960-1972) were used to identify and record known and new water management features, showing the landscape before recent agricultural and urban intensification removed archaeological remains. The results of the image interpretation were validated through DEM analysis; low resolution SRTM and ASTER DEMs were used, as well as a high resolution CORONA DEM, generated through applying photogrammetry techniques to CORONA stereopairs. A sample of the results was also investigated in the field in July 2010. Using multiple techniques to locate and validate data, the large area of northern Mesopotamia could be mapped relatively quickly and inexpensively. The results of the remote sensing analysis showed that water management developed throughout northern Mesopotamia from the Neo-Assyrian to the Early Islamic period. Detailed information about the scale and distribution of whole irrigation systems was obtained. The present study concluded that the Neo-Assyrian Empire had established changes in the landscape that promoted the development of large-scale water management; a significant peak later occurred during the time of the Early Islamic Empire. Conversely, interruptions to water management occurred at times of political instability, (with modern parallels). The powerful later territorial empires were able to impose and encourage the development of water management throughout the formerly marginal rain-fed zone.
Date January 2014
CreatorsRayne, Louise Elizabeth
PublisherDurham University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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