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Urban and Transport Scaling: Northern Mesopotamia in the Late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age

Altaweel, M; Palmisano, A; (2018) Urban and Transport Scaling: Northern Mesopotamia in the Late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 10.1007/s10816-018-9400-4. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Scaling methods have been applied to study modern urban areas and how they create accelerated, feedback growth in some systems while efficient use in others. For ancient cities, results have shown that cities act as social reactors that lead to positive feedback growth in socioeconomic measures. In this paper, we assess the relationship between settlement area expressed through mound area from Late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age sites and mean hollow way widths, which are remains of roadways, from the Khabur Triangle in northern Mesopotamia. The intent is to demonstrate the type of scaling and relationship present between sites and hollow ways, where both feature types are relatively well preserved. For modern roadway systems, efficiency in growth relative to population growth suggests roads should show sublinear scaling in relation to site size. In fact, similar to modern systems, such sublinear scaling results are demonstrated for the Khabur Triangle using available data, suggesting ancient efficiency in intensive transport growth relative to population levels. Comparable results are also achieved in other ancient Near East regions. Furthermore, results suggest that there could be a general pattern relevant for some small sites (0–2 ha) and those that have fewer hollow ways, where β, a measure of scaling, is on average low (≈ < 0.2). On the other hand, a second type of result for sites with many hollow ways (11 or more) and that are often larger suggests that β is greater (0.23–0.72), but still sublinear. This result could reflect the scale in which larger settlements acted as greater social attractors or had more intensive economic activity relative to smaller sites. The provided models also allow estimations of past roadway widths in regions where hollow ways are missing.

Type: Article
Title: Urban and Transport Scaling: Northern Mesopotamia in the Late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10816-018-9400-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-018-9400-4
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Hollow ways, Ancient roads, Mesopotamia, Near East, Bronze Age, Late Chalcolithic, Tells, Mounds, Settlement, Scaling, Urban geography, Land use, Landscape
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058590
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