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Innovations under limitations: A landscape approach to agricultural practices and water management in a frontier zone of medieval South India.

Author(s): Kanika Kalra

Year: 2015

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Summary

Agricultural intensification and water management are widely studied in the context of changing political complexity. My research, centered on semi-arid southern India, addresses this theme through a survey of three areas that exemplify the diversity of archaeological sites and trajectories of change in the Raichur region. Irrigation played a significant role in the expansion and intensification of agriculture in this region, achieved through the construction of reservoirs that conserved surface run-off during the monsoons. These reservoirs directly fed the agricultural fields and also replenished the underground water table, from which people drew water by constructing wells close to the embankments. Inscriptional and historical data provide the wider context within which the results of the systematic survey are analyzed. This research indicates that the spread of state society into the Raichur frontier zone did not by itself necessitate monumental investments in agricultural intensification. However, when political stress increased, local elites came to amass greater allegiance and control over resources that allowed them to construct and maintain substantial hydraulic infrastructure. The over-arching regional powers in turn depended on these local elites to control and extract resources from these frontier areas.

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Innovations under limitations: A landscape approach to agricultural practices and water management in a frontier zone of medieval South India.. Kanika Kalra. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396009)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: 59.678; min lat: 4.916 ; max long: 92.197; max lat: 37.3 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America