Empire and Environment in the Northern Fertile Crescent

  • Tony J. WilkinsonEmail author


Because of their huge size, empires are daunting for archaeological study. Although some features of early Near Eastern empires have been studied since the very earliest trenches were sunk into the Assyrian capital cities of Nimrud and Nineveh (Fig. 9.1), the implications of the development of territorial empires have not been fully absorbed into the study of human-environment relations. The later territorial empires of the first millennium BC and AD fundamentally changed the landscapes of the Near East in ways that did not previously obtain. For example, features of monumental scale (which are often associated with empires), and which include huge canal systems such as those of the Sasanians, necessarily had massive impacts on the environment, but more widespread, and ultimately perhaps more significant in terms of human impacts on the environment, are the smaller scale features that are often under-represented by archaeologists. This chapter relates the signatures of the cultural landscapes of the later territorial empires of the Near East to the local environment and landscape degradation.


Optically Stimulate Luminescence Archaeological Survey Euphrates River Landscape Degradation Settlement Expansion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Many thanks to Claudio Vita-Finzi and John Bintliff for discussions at various times on this subject.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of ArchaeologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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