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Illuminating the Black Sands: survey and settlement in the Bronze Age Murghab Delta, Turkmenistan

Markofsky, S.; (2010) Illuminating the Black Sands: survey and settlement in the Bronze Age Murghab Delta, Turkmenistan. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines the Bronze Age settlement distribution in the Lower Murghab Delta, Turkmenistan. The delta represents a visually obstructed landscape in which the reconstruction of past archaeological patterns is extremely difficult. Drawing on concepts of distributional archaeology and 'siteless surveys', the research focuses on the distribution of surface pottery as the primary dataset in an examination of local and regional settlement distributions and their significance with respect to the proto-urban landscape of the delta. The survey data is assessed within the context of past and present landscapes, examining issues of visibility and recovery potential en route to a better understanding of the archaeological significance of the Bronze Age settlement pattern. While the central trajectory of the thesis is to address these issues, a secondary goal is to examine the nature of survey itself in the region. The field results are therefore considered in light of earlier Soviet/Russian and Italian research in the Murghab, assessing the effectiveness of that work and the research potential of intensive survey in the region. In addressing these questions, newer methodologies that incorporate spatial analysis and remote sensing data are examined, both on their own merits and as adjunct methods to support field survey. Ultimately, these questions are synthesised in order to examine the relationships between surface distributions and the landscape, and ultimately to better understand settlement phenomena in the northern Murghab.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Illuminating the Black Sands: survey and settlement in the Bronze Age Murghab Delta, Turkmenistan
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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