Multi-scale dimensions of relief in Geoarchaeology: A base for reconstructing Late Pleistocene environments in the Eastern Desert of Egypt


Scale, spatial and temporal, is one of the most important issues to deal with, when reconstructing former environments and landscapes. Interdisciplinary research such as geoarchaeology is dealing with different disciplines, descriptions and interpretations and therefore often work with varying meanings of specific scales. As geomorphology plays a substantial part of Geoarchaeology (e.g. Fuchs & Zöller 2006, Working Group on Geoarchaeology (WGG) as subproject of the International Associations of Geomorphology (IAG)), concepts of scale from geomorphological perspective are highly recommended when discussing issues of scale in geoarchaeology. Rather than sedimentology, mineralogy or other geosciences dealing with geoarchaeological research questions, geomorphology has a broader understanding in matters of geographical space.

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Felix Henselowsky, PhD Candidate in Project A1.

Based on the classification between the dimension of a landform and their persistence  (after Dikau 1988, Ahnert 1996, Bubenzer 2009), we identify three different levels of observations concerning the identification of landforms: The Microrelief (object dimension between 10-3– 10-1km), Mesorelief (10-1 – 101km) and Macrorelief (101– 103km). Each scale has significant relief forms, e.g. starting from single wadi terraces, specific catchments, and drainage network up to full mountain ranges, all of them with informative values for a specific spatial and temporal scale. In the end, a clear identification of specific scales by integrating also archaeological evidences is given to answer key research questions about landscape evolution, connectivity of regions and corridors for human migration. The talk discusses problems and challenges of this approach for the Eastern Desert as an example of a today´s hyper arid environment.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 11/07/2016, 14:45 h – 15:30 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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