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Title: Agriculture and trade amongst the Garamantes and the Fezzanese : 3000 years of archaeobotanical data from the Sahara and its margins
Author: Pelling, Ruth Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2668 4906
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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The nature and effectiveness of subsistence strategies are central to many theories concerning emergent complex societies and urban centres. A thorough understanding of subsistence can only be achieved by including the study of the actual plant and faunal remains which formed the subsistence base. Although research over the last two decades has slowly redressed the situation, archaeobotanical studies have hitherto been very limited within Africa, particularly outside the Nile Valley. Existing studies have tended to be dominated by testing theories concerning African centres of domestication and the origins of agriculture, in particular the origins of cultivated Pennisetum (pearl millet) or Sorghum. In terms of'complex societies' and their development, assumptions concerning the subsistence base have tended to be made in the absence of detailed archaeobotanical sampling, although a growing number of excavations at 'urban' sites have recently included detailed sampling. The focus of this thesis is the archaeobotanical evidence for agricultural activity and the role of agriculture within society during 2500-3000 years of Garamantian and post- Garamantian civilization in the Fazzan, Libyan Sahara. Settlement in the region, particularly at the proto-urban site of Old Jarma (the ancient Garamantian capital of Garama), shows a remarkable degree of longevity. This must in part reflect a successful agricultural adaptation to a marginal environment despite progressive aridification and demographic fluctuations. The current study sets out to demonstrate how this adaptive strategy included both technical and arable developments, but also exploited the economic opportunities afforded by a changing political climate on the fringes of the Sahara. To set the case study in its wider geographical context, a detailed database has been compiled of archaeobotanical data from sites across northern Africa including some newly generated, as yet unpublished data. Statistical methods are used to explore temporal and special relationships between the sites included in the database.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available