Sofia Laparidou

Identifying land use practices in relation to settlement shifts in Medieval Islamic Transjordan using phytolith analysis

This project will investigate the agricultural practices adopted by the state and villagers during the Middle and Late Islamic periods in the Transjordan, and assess the long term effect of their choices on the environment of the areas under study. In addition, this analysis will evaluate human-environment interactions and changing agricultural economies, as key factors of settlement shifts and periods of ‘decline’ in the periods of study (Mamluk, 1260-1516 and Ottoman 1516-1918 periods). The study is very interesting as it is the first attempt to use phytoliths, micro-botanical remains, to approach the macro-questions of current research on rural life in Medieval Islam.

For the purposes of this project, soil samples for phytolith analysis will be acquired from selected sites under study. This project may shed light on subsistence, economy, agricultural practices, settlement cycles and micro-environments of different regions of the Medieval Islamic world. It is an effort to complete the picture of state-villagers relationships and how land use strategies adopted by both sides marked demographic and environmental decline of different geographic regions.


 Educational background

  • BA, History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH)
  • MSc, Environmental Archaeology, University of Sheffield
  • MSc, GIS with Remote Sensing, University of Greenwich

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