Soil development and early land use in the Jazira region, Upper Mesopotamia

  • Wilkinson T
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The Jazira forms an extensive semi-arid area within the fertile crescent
between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It has been settled and
cultivated for over 8,000 years and the typical soil, the Calcic
Xerosol, can produce cereal crops in most years. Crops are mainly
watered by rainfall alone. Mature soil profiles can develop within
5-6,000 years. Analysis of soil phosphates, and extensive sherd sampling
techniques, have shown that the ploughsoil has been enriched by animal
wastes and settlement refuse, possibly as a result of both pasturing
of animals and manuring in antiquity. Earlier chalcolithic settlement
and agricultural systems appear to have been extensive, but by the
Early Bronze Age land use had intensified with each settlement showing
evidence of a surrounding halo of sherd scatters. Such scatters appear
to correspond to episodes of maximum population or urbanization.

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  • T. J. Wilkinson

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