University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Late Neolithic Herders and Climate Change : The effects of the ‘8.2 ka event’ on animal husbandry at the Late Neolithic site of Tell Sabi Abyad

Late Neolithic Herders and Climate Change : The effects of the ‘8.2 ka event’ on animal husbandry at the Late Neolithic site of Tell Sabi Abyad

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The Late Neolithic site of Tell Sabi Abyad in the Balikh region, northern Syria, provides the perfect case study for looking at how ancient societies coped with climate change. Extensive excavations at this site have revealed a unique, continuous sequence of seventh and early sixth millennium occupation layers, unparalleled at any other site in the Near East so far. Tell Sabi Abyad is located in the upper Balikh valley of Northern Syria approximately 30 kilometres from the Syro-Turkish border. The main focus of this research is an area known as Operation III which dates to 7100 to 5500 cal BC. The occupation of this area spans the so-called “8.2k cal BP climate event”, a climate event that is thought to have brought about a sudden and marked reduction in precipitation in Africa, the Near East and Asia causing a drought in the Asian and African monsoonal regions. This abrupt climate anomaly, peaking at c. 6200 cal BC, has recently gained much attention from climatologists but until now the archaeological and cultural implications have not been studied in detail. In this paper I will outline the results of my research into the effects of this climate change on the animal based subsistence strategies and coping mechanisms implemented by the inhabitants of Tell Sabi Abyad at the end of the 7th millennium cal BC.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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