Regional climate, local paleoenvironment, and early cultivation in the Middle Wadi el-Hasa, Jordan

Daniel A. Contreras, Cheryl Makarewicz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


For several decades, researchers have sought to define a relationship between environmental change and initial human experimentation with food production in southwest Asia. Many models emphasize the role of the Younger Dryas, a Northern Hemisphere-wide cold and arid climatic period that lasted from approximately 12,900 B.P.-11,700 B.P., in providing the impetus for first human experimentation with cultivation in southwest Asia. In general, these models focus on macrolevel environmental patterns, discounting variability in the effects of the Younger Dryas at local scales. In so doing, these models elide the question of whether or not regional paleoenvironmental data provide spatial and chronological resolution adequate for the purposes of establishing and examining relationships between environmental change, resource stress, and nascent cultivation in southwest Asia. Here, we consider this problem of scale in the southern Levant through geoarchaeological analyses of stratified in-stream wetland deposits dating to the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, including the crucial Younger Dryas period, in the Wadi el-Hasa, Jordan. The evidence of local landscape morphology and conditions that this provides, in close proximity to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A settlement of el-Hemmeh (where pre-domestication cultivation was practiced alongside gathering of wild food plants), provides an opportunity to closely examine the environmental contexts of early experimentation with agriculture in the southern Levant, particularly their change over time and the relationship of local to regional evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions
Subtitle of host publicationStrategies for Investigating Anthropogenic Landscapes, Dynamic Environments, and Climate Change in the Human Past
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781315697697
ISBN (Print)9781138901735
StatePublished - 25 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor and Francis. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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