By A. G. Brown
This accomplished technical handbook is designed to offer archaeologists the mandatory historical past wisdom in environmental technological know-how required to excavate and examine archaeological websites by way of rivers and on floodplains. Bringing jointly details at the evolution and exploitation of floodplain and river landscapes, this article attracts on examples from Britain, Europe, North the US and Australasia. a big subject is the interplay among climatic and cultural forces and the transformation of riverine environments.
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Additional resources for Alluvial Geoarchaeology: Floodplain Archaeology and Environmental Change (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology)
In nearly all the dynasties some records were made of high and low floods. The Nile flood is supplied by summer monsoon rains over Ethiopia (Riehl et ai9 1979), while the winter flow of the river depends upon the rains near the equator. The river is therefore a barometer of two components of the climatic system and a good indicator of climatic change. There are, however, many problems in trying to reconstruct climate from a 10 A lluvial geoarchaeology flood series derived from this data. The completion of a full series is prevented by inconsistency between the records of different periods, with different datums being used, and even different measuring scales (Bell, 1970).
Since the datum is unknown an arbitrary relation is used to compare the series with a modern series from the Nilometer at El-Roda, Cairo. The problem of the datum height is complicated by the aggradation of the river and floodplain and Bell (1970) has used a value of 1 mm yr" 1 (derived from Butzer, 1959), to correct for this effect. Whether this is appropriate or not depends upon the measuring device that was used. The data come from the Memphis Nilometer, which if it was of the portable kind would have had a zero which moved up with the floodplain; if, however, it was of the fixed kind with a scale carved on a wharf or special well, then it would have had a fixed zero and the correction would be inappropriate.
This allowed easy utilisation of a variety of resources, including wildfowling in Alexandria AsyutW; EGYPT Luxor< ! R. ^ v - Land above 2000 metres Nile cataract International boundary ^fy c ( Lake L Edward 0 km 500 ^ Y S M ' • • • • • • J ^ ! Aswan 0 ; TANZANIA N. km 100 Lake<\ \ Nasser* er^ \ Fig. 2 Map of the Nile catchment and Egyptian Nile valley showing major geomorphological features an Based in part on the pre-dynastic site survey by Butzer (1982) and Adamson et al (1980). Introduction and the example of the Nile Metres Limestone Channel gravels Sand and gravel Sand Modern Sohagiya +65 Modern Nile Multiple channel traces of diverging branch AD 1800 Abandoned levees (Hellenistic to early Islamic) Canal 60 55 Nile channels and flood silts of historical age - 50 45 40 • ' Fig.