Presentation Title

Methodology and Significance of PTAP’s Analysis of Agricultural Terraces in Petra’s Northern Hinterlands

Project Collaborators

Petra Terraces Archaeological Project Team

Abstract

In August 2019, Petra Terraces Archaeological Project (PTAP) conducted archaeological survey and test-pitting to study terracing systems in lower Wadi Silaysil, an agricultural zone in the rural hinterlands north of the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. The objectives of PTAP’s 2019 season were to date and analyze the construction of the terrace walls, as well as analyze the usage of the soil retained by them. The methods used included a 20m by 20m gridded surface survey of the area, the excavation of test pits, including test pits against the terrace walls both upslope and downslope, collection of pottery and lithics for further analysis, the extraction of soil from the foundations of the terraces for OSL dating, and extraction of the agricultural soil for carbon dating and phytolith analysis (Rojas and Newman 2019). Additionally, the landscape was recorded with LiDAR, photogrammetry, and drawings. This poster will particularly highlight the excavations of two test-pits that I participated in. The analysis of findings from the past summer are ongoing, but have thus far shed light on the agricultural techniques of ancient Petra, including evidence of irrigated agriculture. This research is significant because it will contribute to the understanding of human-landscape interactions and water management in the region surrounding Petra historically and presently (Rojas et al 2019).

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Sarah Newman

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Anthropology

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

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Methodology and Significance of PTAP’s Analysis of Agricultural Terraces in Petra’s Northern Hinterlands

In August 2019, Petra Terraces Archaeological Project (PTAP) conducted archaeological survey and test-pitting to study terracing systems in lower Wadi Silaysil, an agricultural zone in the rural hinterlands north of the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. The objectives of PTAP’s 2019 season were to date and analyze the construction of the terrace walls, as well as analyze the usage of the soil retained by them. The methods used included a 20m by 20m gridded surface survey of the area, the excavation of test pits, including test pits against the terrace walls both upslope and downslope, collection of pottery and lithics for further analysis, the extraction of soil from the foundations of the terraces for OSL dating, and extraction of the agricultural soil for carbon dating and phytolith analysis (Rojas and Newman 2019). Additionally, the landscape was recorded with LiDAR, photogrammetry, and drawings. This poster will particularly highlight the excavations of two test-pits that I participated in. The analysis of findings from the past summer are ongoing, but have thus far shed light on the agricultural techniques of ancient Petra, including evidence of irrigated agriculture. This research is significant because it will contribute to the understanding of human-landscape interactions and water management in the region surrounding Petra historically and presently (Rojas et al 2019).