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Water Histories and Spatial Archaeology
Ancient Yemen and the American West

$34.99 (C)

  • Date Published: December 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316500682

$ 34.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book offers a new interpretation of the spatial-political-environmental dynamics of water and irrigation in long-term histories of arid regions. It compares ancient Southwest Arabia (3500 BC–AD 600) with the American West (2000 BC–AD 1950) in global context to illustrate similarities and differences among environmental, cultural, political, and religious dynamics of water. It combines archaeological exploration and field studies of farming in Yemen with social theory and spatial technologies, including satellite imagery, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping. In both ancient Yemen and the American West, agricultural production focused not where rain-fed agriculture was possible, but in hyper-arid areas where massive state-constructed irrigation schemes politically and ideologically validated state sovereignty. While shaped by profound differences and contingencies, ancient Yemen and the American West are mutually informative in clarifying human geographies of water that are important to understandings of America, Arabia, and contemporary conflicts between civilizations deemed East and West.

    • Builds comparative understanding of America and Arabia in an era of profound conflict and turmoil
    • Breaks new ground in anthropological archaeology, social sciences and humanities
    • Technical details of scientific analyses are explained in an accessible way
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the author makes a compelling case for the relevance of his choice with regard to ‘human geographies of water' … The reader interested in irrigation and water resource use in Yemen, especially for the pre-Islamic period, will not be disappointed by this work.' Daniel Martin Varisco, Review of Middle East Studies

    '… an important contribution to new water theory, which is relevant for many geographic areas and time periods. … theoretically rich work …' Journal of Near Eastern Studies

    'This book addresses the long-term environmental as well as economic history of the Yemen case study and contextualizes it within the wider discipline. Archaeohydrology as a discipline benefits from the approach taken in this book.' American Anthropologist

    “The book succeeds as an example of integrating an empirical geoarchaeological approach to a broader set of disciplines and topics…Harrower’s book strikes a hopeful approach that knowledge gained from a long‐term perspective that values and applies both scientific and humanistic views can help us see the commonalities shared by seemingly antagonistic groups and build towards greater understanding and geopolitical cooperation. I like that.” --Geoarchaeology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316500682
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: comparing water histories of America and Arabia
    2. Comparison and juxtaposition in archaeology: water, agriculture and state formation in space and time
    3. Water histories of ancient Yemen in global comparative perspective
    4. Pastoralism, water and the beginning of agriculture in Southwest Arabia
    5. Water histories of Southwest Arabian kingdoms (and the American West)
    6. Conclusion: water histories, comparison, geopolitics and spatial archaeology.

  • Author

    Michael J. Harrower, The Johns Hopkins University
    Michael J. Harrower is Assistant Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at The Johns Hopkins University and has over fifteen years of archaeological experience exploring the remote desert highlands of Ethiopia, Jordan, Yemen and Oman. He is a leading-expert in spatial technologies, and is co-editor, with Douglas C. Comer, of Mapping Archaeological Landscapes from Space (2013).

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