Exploring the common ground of landscape ecology and landscape archaeology through a case study from eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Arıkan B., Mohr F., Buergi M.

LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, vol.36, no.8, pp.2295-2315, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10980-020-01128-z
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Geobase, Veterinary Science Database, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.2295-2315
  • Keywords: Abandonment, Agent-based modeling, Arslantepe, Climate change, Early Bronze Age, Landscape archaeology, Sustainability
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Context Landscape archaeology has a lot to offer to landscape ecology, being an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes the study of long-term human-environment dynamics. Objectives We outline different conceptualizations of landscape in landscape archaeology and illustrate the potential of the approach for collaborating with landscape ecologists by describing a case study from the multi-period site of Arslantepe, located in the Malatya province of eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Methods We use an agent-based modeling platform to understand the socio-economic transformations at Arslantepe during the Early Bronze Age-I. Results These simulations revealed long-term dynamics of grassland and woodland under different climate and population scenarios. It was found that both grassland and woodland responded most strongly to changes in population, with woodlands being more sensitive. Further, it becomes evident that the adapted site-tethered pastoralism could have brought more sustainable land use practices. Conclusions The example shows the tremendous potential landscape archaeology has for studying long-term sustainability issues, especially related to modes of production. The landscape archaeological perspective can be linked with expertise provided by landscape ecologists, and we propose more in-depth collaboration of these two fields that offer diverse yet complementary perspectives.