Shifting Human-Environmental Interactions in the Late Prehistoric Periods of Southern Caucasia

Author(s): Ian Lindsay

Year: 2015


The Caucasus Mountain range is an exceptionally dynamic landscape whose diverse topographic, tectonic, hydrological, climatic, and pedological dimensions provided the backdrop to equally vibrant social transitions from the Neolithic through the Iron Age. The past two decades of intensive excavations and radiocarbon dates in the South Caucasus (particularly Armenia and Georgia) have resulted in important refinements to material culture sequences from the first farmers to the earliest political hierarchies and empires. A long-standing tradition has persisted in the region to uncritically invoke "the environment" as a driver of important historical transitions—from determinative access to vital highland resources like obsidian and metals, to the adoption of pastoral transhumance—despite a lack of concrete paleo-environmental data. Indeed, until recently very few data have existed to reconstruct the daily challenges and affordances of highland climatic and hydrological regimes that effected daily life for ancient populations, and how these may have precipitated settlement and subsistence change over the longue durée. This paper will discuss the current state of knowledge of how ancient societies (including the region’s earliest complex polities) in Southern Caucasia engaged with their natural environment from the 6th through 2nd millennium BC.

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Cite this Record

Shifting Human-Environmental Interactions in the Late Prehistoric Periods of Southern Caucasia. Ian Lindsay. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396557)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;