Comparative modeling of Bronze Age land use in the Malatya Plain (Turkey)

Computational modeling in archeology has proven to be a useful tool in quantifying changes in the paleoenvironment. This especially useful method combines data from diverse disciplines to answer questions focusing on the complex and non-linear aspects of human-environment interactions. The research presented here uses various proxy records to compare the changes in climate during the Bronze Age in the Malatya Plain in eastern Anatolia, which is situated at the northern extremity of northern Mesopotamia. Extensive agropastoral land use modeling was applied to three sites of different size and function in the Malatya Plain during the Early Bronze Age I period to simulate the varying scale and intensity of human impacts in relation to changes in the level of social organization, demography, and temporal length. The results suggest that even in land use types subjected to a light footprint, the scale and intensity of anthropogenic impacts change significantly in relation to the level of social organization.

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Figure. The results of extensive agropastoral land use simulation after 250 years for (a) Arslantepe; (b) Gelinciktepe; and (c) Pirot Höyük in the Malatya Plain. The legend shows land cover classes present in the catchments.

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Figure. Line chart showing all modeling experiments at the archaeological sites of the Malatya Plain. Green lines show Pirot Höyük; blue lines show Gelinciktepe; and red lines show Arslantepe. Straight lines indicate the results for short-term simulations; dotted lines indicate results for mid-term simulations; and dashed lines indicate results for long-term results. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)