Event: FRIDAY SEMINAR: Land Use and Political Economy: Niche Construction in the Gordion Region, Turkey

Date & Time

March 15, 2019 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
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Contact Information

Sumiji Takahashi
Phone 310-825-4169


Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)

Event Type

Friday Seminar

Event Details

Dr. Lisa Kealhofer 
Professor, Anthropology and Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University


Archaeologists have often assumed that agricultural strategies are significant factors in altering environments. Narratives of societal collapse typically point to environmental degradation as an outcome of population increase or political breakdown. We use a version of Niche Construction Theory to interpret the timing and nature of landscape change around Gordion in central Anatolia over the last 5000 years. Recent work in the Gordion region by us and others demonstrates that major environmental change is only weakly connected to standard measures of agricultural intensification. Using detailed stream histories and survey-based settlement data, we show that the largest environmental changes predate significant settlement in small watersheds, while the largest regional-scale changes postdate high intensity settlement and land use. By integrating multiple lines of evidence, we identify and date both environmental perturbations and possible counteractive niche construction strategies associated with political centralization.