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The origins of terraced field agriculture in the Caucasus: new discoveries in the Kislovodsk basin

  • Dmitry S. Korobov (a1) and Alexander V. Borisov (a2)
Abstract

Terraced field systems are a feature of many regions of the world and have been dated as early as 6000 cal BC in the Levant (Kuijt et al. in Antiquity 81 (2007: 106–18)). The discovery of agricultural terraces in the northern Caucasus, reported here, extends their distribution into a new area. Relatively low population levels in the late medieval and early modern periods have preserved several blocks of terraced fields, some of them created at the beginning of the first millennium BC, others in the mid first millennium AD. The earlier terraced fields, associated with material and settlements of the Koban culture, culminated in over-exploitation of the land and exacerbated erosion during environmental change in the mid first millennium BC. The later series of terraced fields are of different form and are associated with the settlement in the area of communities of Alans in the first millennium AD. They largely avoided the areas rendered infertile by Koban period overexploitation. The morphology and chronology of the terraced field systems are explored using a combination of aerial photography, GIS analysis and field investigations.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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