Sie sind auf Seite 1von 12

Auszug aus: Roland de Beauclair, Susanne Mnzel und Hannes Napierala (Hrsg.

Knochen pflastern ihren Weg Festschrift fr Margarethe und Hans-Peter Uerpmann

Simone Riehl

A cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-andeffect for the dependence of agro-production on climate change in the ancient Near East
Von Seite 217 bis 226

Verlag Marie Leidorf GmbH . Rahden/Westf. 2009


ISSN: ISBN-13: ISBN-10: 1611-356X 978-3-86757-952-0 3-86757-952-0

BioArchaeologica 5

A cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-andeffect for the dependence of agro-production on climate change in the ancient Near East
Simone Riehl
Abstract
This paper considers causal relations in established agricultural societies in the ancient Near East, specifically the question of why agricultural systems change and how climate may play a role. Even though we recognize clear patterns of adaptations to changing climate in the archaeobotanical record, the evidence is not always straightforward, suggesting the involvement of multiple causes and non-linear cause-and-effect relations. Using stable carbon isotope analysis in cereal remains as an independent tool to assess water availability for ancient crop plants, support is provided to the hypothesis of agricultural adaptations influenced by climate change. The socio-political component, however, is still waiting to be analysed in detail before it can be integrated into the cause-and-effect system.
Keywords: Holocene climate change, Near East, Bronze Age, agriculture, archaeobotany, stable carbon isotope analysis

Zusammenfassung
Der Beitrag betrachtet kausale Zusammenhnge in etablierten landwirtschaftlichen Gesellschaften des historischen Vorderen Orients. Im Vordergrund steht die Frage welche Rolle das Klima bei der Vernderung landwirtschaftlicher Systeme gespielt hat. Obwohl archobotanische Quellen generell deutliche Anpassungsmuster an den Klimawandel erkennen lassen, sind diese nicht fr alle Kulturpflanzen gegeben. Dies deutet auf eine Beteiligung verschiedener anderer Faktoren sowie auf nicht lineare Ursachen-WirkungsPrinzipien. Der Einsatz der stabilen Kohlenstoffisotopie an Getreiden, als unabhngige Methode zur Rekonstruktion frher Wasserverfgbarkeit, untersttzt die Hypothese der Anpassung landwirtschaftlicher Systeme an den Klimawandel. Die Frage nach dem Einfluss sozialer und politischer Faktoren wartet noch auf ihre Integration in das Ursachen-Wirkungs-System.
Schlsselwrter: Holozner Klimawandel, Vorderer Orient, Bronzezeit, Landwirtschaft, Archobotanik, stabile Kohlenstoffisotopie

Causal determinism and deadlocked perceptions in archaeology


Causal determinism is deeply connected with our understanding of the physical sciences and their explanatory ambitions, on the one hand, and with our views about human free action on the other. In both of these general areas there is no agreement over whether determinism is true (or even whether it

can be known true or false), and what the import for human agency would be in either case. (Hoefer 2008 in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Despite this rather vague definition provided by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, causality research is a mathematical theory with significant applications in the field of statistics, artificial intelligence, philosophy, cognitive science and the health and social sciences (Pearl 2000).

218
In western philosophical traditions the relation of cause and effect has been considered since Aristotle (384-322 BC) to be of a unidirectional nature, where the effect-event is the direct or transferred consequence of a spatially attached efficient cause, assuming that there are laws regulating this relationship. The deterministic explanation or documentation of correlation of natural phenomena, although different in their purpose (why vs. how), are both fruits of the causality principle. Many archaeologists are tendentious. They tend to categorize changes in ancient societies according to the either/or-principle, which tends to be either environmentally or culturally induced, leading to emotionally charged dead-end debates between the representatives of these feigned alternatives. Keywords such as environmental or cultural determinism are often applied to archaeological works advocating the either/or-principle with a disqualifying notion to putative opponents. This attitude may be explained by the later history of determinism. The most fundamental argument of environmental determinists goes back to the Greek geographer Strabo (c. 63 BC 24 AD) and describes the formation of behavioural characteristics of human beings and their societies by climatic influence, without taking into account that there is continuing impact, environmental as well as cultural and social on these societies, requiring constant adaptation to new situations. Environmental determinism gained increasing prominence in the geosciences during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, although more in geography than in archaeology. Any extreme and short-sighted application of models provokes misinterpretation, as it was the case for environmental determinism between 1920 and 1940, when the model was seemingly used to justify racism. This led to an abandonment of the environmental determinism hypothesis for many decades, and is the reason for negative reactions today by many scientists to any suggestion of environmental influences on human society. This is unfortunate, as the model contains many aspects that are useful to modern sustainability research. On the opposite end of the spectrum to environmental determinism is cultural determinism, which assumes that humans through the power of thought, socialization and cultural environment are solely responsible for behavioral aspects of society. Anthropologists, in the last decades, favored this model over environmental

Simone Riehl
determinism. However, cultural determinism, like environmental determinism, has the potential to be abused to support ideas of colonialism and racism. Cultural influence cannot be separated from environmental influence, as it is part of the environment, an aspect which is also inherent to ecology in general and to cultural ecology in particular. In cultural ecology, which developed in the first half of the 20th century and was a main driving force in the development of processual archaeology, the main argument is that the physical environment affects culture, and that cultural change is induced by adaptation to the environment (Netting 1986; Sutton & Anderson 2004). For example, symbolism and mythology are culturally specific, but they were originally formed by observation of nature. Decisions and actions based on natural religion are both culturally and environmentally oriented. This principle can be adapted to most aspects of society, such as agricultural sustainability, which depends on natural decadal to centennial climatic variability, as well as on annual to decadal social, economic and technological changes that impact the land (cf. Hole 2007). Diamond (2005) lists four categories of factors that contribute to failures of group decision-making and lead to the collapse of ancient civilizations: 1. The failure to anticipate a problem before it arrived. This may be because of the lack of prior experience with similar problems, because of a similar experience which was not adequately transmitted because it occurred too long ago, or because of false analogy. The failure to perceive. This may happen when the problem is invisible in its initial stage (e.g. incipient salinization) or imperceptible through a gradual shift of normalcy towards worse conditions, such as longterm climate trends that are concealed within noisy fluctuations (creeping normalcy as used in Diamond 2005), Rational bad behaviour arising from clashes of interest between people. This can include inconsiderate behaviour and self-enrichment of the elite or leaders of the societies, sometimes in relation with resource bottlenecks. Irrational behaviour by people acting on disastrous values, often found in extremist religion, which detain a community to act on perceived environmental problems.

2.

3.

4.

A cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect


All four of these factors show that environmental, sociopolitical and cultural problems are interwoven. In archaeological practice this aspect often remains unrealized, because we are unable to equally integrate different fields of expertise, leading to tendentious hypotheses on the causes of societal collapse. The non-existence of the either/or-principle in real-life scenarios, however, is easily observable, as human decision-making is a complex, multifaceted procedure (see numerous examples described by Diamond (2005)). This is supported in theory by the principles of causation listed by Gano (2008), which include the following: 1. Causes and effects are part of an infinite continuum of causes as there are no laws of physics that prevent a casual chain from ending. 2. Each effect has at least two causes in the form of actions and conditions, and causes are not part of a linear chain, but more like a fishnet. 3. An effect exists only if its causes exist at the same point in time and space. The definitions of environmental and cultural determinism as sometimes applied by archaeologists or geographers are often based on the flawed perception that there is a beginning and an end in the transformation of human societies and that responses of humans to change must be linear in order to prove a causal relation. A recent example of such a biased understanding of environmental influence on human societies is that only linear responses to external forcing indicate causality between these forces and observed effects, as claimed by Coombs and Barber (2005; see also Butzer 1997). Their argument, that the processes of cultural decline exhibit patterns characteristic of complexity cascading within self-organized systems, and that therefore the nonlinear nature of the systems responses cannot be causally related to the processes, is not in agreement with the principle that complex systems rarely produce linear or replicable responses. In climatology it is well-known that global climate events do not have the same environmental effects in any region of the world, so why should we expect human societies to react simultaneously in the same way to global climate events? The flow chart below illustrates some principles of causation discussed above and the diversity of effects under variation of the number and nature of causes and

219
human action involved in these processes. It is important to note that beside the two causes listed (natural and political causes), a number of other causes can be involved. Direct effects A and B occur after an impact such as tremendous drought (leading to effect A) or armed hostilities (leading to effect B), if measures were not taken to mitigate these effects. Effects X1 and X2 are variations of more complex cause-and-effect systems, while effects C and D may function as cause and effect at the same time, depending on the measures taken by a community. For example, action B could be a shift to different technology (e.g. increased irrigation) to prevent losses in yields in the following years, which could lead to increased yields and/or salinisation as effect C, which then again causes measures, which could either result in positive or negative effects. Multiple effects could develop from a variable intensity of every action, such as continuously increasing salinisation, shifting of fields or settlements as worst-case scenarios or, more positively, economic growth or stability. In the chart below, the variability of a cause, as well as the nature and dimension of human decision-making and adaptation determine effects A-Xn, i.e., different forms of settlement stagnation, reduction or abandonment. Thus, environmental change, whether naturally, politically or culturally induced, may create the necessity for change in human society; however, it does not determine the precise trajectory or the timescale for that change. Neither are differences in human-decision-making in various groups due to differing perceptions of the environment foreseeable. The main conflict in scientific discussions on the causality of human behaviour and climate change lies in the different world-views on how free will and determinism are compatible. The either/or-principle is manifested in incompatibilism, which has its roots at least in the 16th century and includes two groups: the libertarians who argue that there is no determinism, but rather that there is free will, and the hard determinists, who argue that there is no free will. The both/and-principle, on the contrary, operates within compatibilism, which argues that free will and determinism are compatible ideas and are not logically inconsistent. An important advancement of the compatibilistic world-view is the main aspect in cultural ecology, i.e. the differences in perception of the environment by human groups, which leads to different attitudes towards environmental change and resource management.

220
lack of prearrangments due to failure of anticipation

Simone Riehl
lack of prearrangments due to failure of anticipation

natural cause (e.g. a single drought year)

effect A (e.g. crop failure)

Political Cause (e.g. war; change of government)

effect B (e.g. limited resources)

Action A (e.g. intensified cultivation)

effect C (e.g. salinization)

Action C (e.g. acquisition of crops)

effect D (e.g. societal/state depletion)

Action B (e.g. irrigation)

lack of prearrangments due to failure to perceive

Action D (e.g. increased taxation)

effect X1 (e.g. soil depletion)

effect X2 (e.g. atrophied crops)

effect X3 (e.g. famine)

effect Xn (e.g. setllement abandonment)

Legend causes measures effects influence default of measures Possible impact

Fig. 1:Infinite structure of a cause-and-effect model for societal collapse. Selection from a pool of interchangeable causes, effects and actions.

Cause-and-effect in the singletype record: archaeobotany


In archaeology and geography there are still many incompatibilists who block the way to holistic approaches. The principles of causation as discussed above support compatibilism over incompatibilism, particularly for change in ancient societies. Therefore we should not expect simple answers to the analysis of cause-and-effect relations in ancient cultures, as these systems are complex and need to be addressed with a compatibilistic tenor. Working with archaeological material, we usually deal with a single-type record, of which we expect an answer to questions about originally complex processes. Plant remains in archaeological sites inform us about ancient plant use and interactions between humans and the environment. As with all archaeological remains, there are numerous methodological problems with interpreting archaeobotanical data from large databases (Riehl 2006), but large data sets still enable us to identify general patterns and to separate out untypical data (Riehl 2007).

A cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect


Using data from several million plant records (http://www.cuminum.de/archaeobotany/) in an area covering most of the Near East (25-42N/21-62E), some distinctive trends can be recognized during the Early and the Middle Bronze Age, a sequence that includes massive social and political overthrow towards the end of the Early Bronze Age and a global rapid climate change event around 4200 cal. BP. The global character of this event has long been denied by various authorities in environmental archaeology and history (e.g. Butzer 1997); however, numerous proxy records from all over the world (for example Gasse 2000; Booth et al. 2005; An et al. 2005) strongly support the global nature of this event. Many researchers discount the role of climate change in the development of ancient societies because they expect uniform, global repercussions from such an event. In climatology global climate events are considered to lead to different effects in different geographical regions. Regional differences in climate development, particularly in relation to the 4200 BP event, are visible when comparing isotopic records from different sites (Lemcke & Sturm 1997; Wick et al. 2003; Hazan et al. 2005; Pustovoytov et al. 2007; Staubwasser & Weiss 2006; etc.), making supra-regional generalizations appear indistinct. Differing resolutions of proxy records and chronological imprecision on the magnitude of 100200 years make climate reconstruction in the Holocene complicated. Although there are regional differences in agricultural production, generalizations can be made by disregarding discrepancies in single records and by focussing on the main crop plants. Changes are visible in almost all of the crops, except for the main cereal crop barley (Hordeum spp.), which is consistent in its relative presence, proportion and ubiquity throughout the Early and Middle Bronze Age. This may be due to its high stress tolerance of drought and saline soils. Drought-adapted bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia), which today is not a part of the human diet because of highly concentrated toxins, played a comparatively minor role in Early Bronze Age plant production. During the Middle Bronze Age, however, it occurs at higher proportions, at least in some of the sites. There is a number of drought-susceptible species that disappear or are strongly reduced by the end of the Early Bronze Age.

221
Amongst those showing the most significant reduction in Middle Bronze Age contexts are garden pea (Pisum sativum), flax (Linum usitatissimum) and grape (Vitis vinifera). While garden pea becomes reduced and restricted to sites closer to the sea coast and grape is generally reduced, particularly in the Levant, flax virtually disappears during the Middle Bronze Age. Free-threshing wheat (Triticum aestivum/durum) proportions are regionally reduced and einkorn (Triticum monococcum), which is also relatively drought-susceptible, disappears with the advent of the Middle Bronze Age. Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum), however, does not fit the general pattern and for some other crops any specific pattern is difficult to assess, because of a generally low representation in archaeological sites. Emmer is considered a highly drought-resistant species due to its high water-holding capacity, and it can also be considered a salt-tolerant species, making it a useful cereal crop for arid environments. One would therefore expect such a crop to increase under increasingly arid conditions. The misfit of this species within the general pattern may lead us to doubt, whether the disappearance of drought-susceptible species, such as flax, was caused by increasing aridity and may seemingly affirm a general scepticism against environmental interpretation of these patterns. A more detailed look at historical and agronomic information on agricultural species allows for a multifaceted view of changing crop patterns. Concentrating on the two species of emmer and flax, we may ask following questions: 1. Why does a drought-tolerant species, such as emmer wheat, become reduced with increasing aridity? 2. In using flax as a textile plant, how can we be sure that its disappearance in the Middle Bronze Age is not related to social or other factors? In referring to the discussion on perceptions of causal determination, the counter question may be: Why should we not expect climate and political or social factors to be interrelated causes of economic, here agricultural, change? Many economists agree on the tremendous consequences of climate change (e.g. Stern 2007; Frisvold & Kuhn 1999; etc.). We should indeed consider climate change and economy to be strongly interlocked in reference to the history of flax production.

222
The high heat conductivity of linen clothing is an advantage in warm climates in contrast to wool, which protects bodies from hypothermia. We may ask why an economic system that formerly produced a textile that perfectly fulfilled the needs of its end users shifted to a much less-suited textile like wool. There may be several answers: As recorded in texts and as demonstrated by the zooarchaeological evidence, sheep and wool were well available and played a major role in the political economy at least from the 3rd millennium onwards (McCorriston 1997). The preference for wool may have been related to its qualities for dying. Wool, when dyed, has brighter colours compared to linen (cf. Roth et al. 1992), which may have been relevant to the elite. This argument favours a social explanation for the disappearance of flax during the Middle Bronze Age. However, linen textiles were rarer and were generally considered as luxuries reserved for the elite (McCorriston 1997). So why, if linen was so highly valued, would ancient people not try to produce more of this textile? If the availability of various raw materials strongly differs, the easily available raw material is typically mass produced, whereas the rarer raw material is treated as a precious good. In the case of flax, which requires 710 mm of water (as an average of 76 cases; El-Nakhlawy & El-Fawal 1989) during the growing season, times of increased aridity would result in a considerable decrease in yields of the highly drought-susceptible flax, while wool would be available even in periods of severe drought. A shift in textile preferences may be more likely explained by a change in the availability of the resources caused by environmental change. The case of emmer wheat is even more complex, due to a relatively large number of competitive species (i.e. barley and free-threshing wheat). The importance of emmer amongst the first cereals and staple crops in the Late Neolithic decreased continuously in the Near East until the end of the Bronze Age, while remaining important farther west (e.g., in the Aegean) at least until the end of the Late Bronze Age (Riehl & Nesbitt 2003). Economic, political, and probably also cultural (dietary) reasons should be considered rather than reasons related to any environmental change to explain the general abandonment of the drought-tolerant emmer wheat in the Middle Bronze Age at many sites. Nesbitt and Samuel (1996) argue that

Simone Riehl
economic pressure for increased productivity selects in favour of free-threshing wheat due to a lower labour input and higher yield for producing the latter crop. In both cases economic decisions are made with respect to cost-benefit calculations. In both cases there is plentiful availability of substitutes. In the case of flax it is wool, in the case of emmer, it is barley and free-threshing wheat. The disappearance or reduction of other droughtsusceptible species, and in particular grape and garden pea, in many areas of the Near East suggests the working hypothesis that climate change around 4200 BP had an influence on agro-production. Some still may ask if the visible changes in plant production rather reflect over-exploitation by ancient farmers in the course of time. In this argument it is not increasing aridity, but rather deterioration of agricultural soils either by a reduction in nutrients or erosion that was the driving force behind adaptation of crop production. As a consequence farmers may have enriched soils by either increasing the use of dung, as argued by Wilkinson (2003), or by systematically alternating cereals and pulses, resulting in an increased cultivation of pulse crops. So far, there seems to be no evidence (except for bitter vetch) for increasing cultivation of pulses throughout time. While supporting arguments to the climate hypothesis are numerous, sceptics still may insist that archaeobotanical distribution patterns, like all archaeological data, are fragmentary and never provide a realistic reflection of original past conditions. One way to augment the fragmentary record is to use multiple lines of evidence from other methods.

Multiple lines of evidence: Using stable carbon isotope analysis of cereal remains as an independent tool
Stable carbon isotope analysis of crop remains, which grew in arid to semi-arid environments, can be used as an independent tool to consider their drought-stress in antiquity or prehistory. Carbon fractionation in C3 plants is strongly dependent on water availability (Farquhar et al. 1982; Ehleringer et al. 1986; Araus et al. 1997; Ferrio et al. 2005; etc.) making

A cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect

223

Fig. 2: 13C values of barley grains from the studied sites in chronological order; Remains are mostly stratigraphically dated; Trend line is 4-period flowing mean; Sites represented are: Tell elAbd, Tell Atchana, Tell Fadous, Emar, Tell Mozan, Qatna, Hirbet ez-Zeraqon.

13C a useful tracer of ancient moisture conditions. While low 13C in arid and semi-arid environments indicate water stress, high 13C may either be due to naturally available moisture, irrigation or other unknown factors. In reference to roughly 70 13C values of barley grains from seven Near Eastern archaeological sites (Riehl et al. 2008) the question of causality in the correlation between the patterns visible in the Early and Middle Bronze Age archaeobotanical record and in the palaeoclimate proxies is considered. The main results can be summarized as follows: The correlation coefficient for the relation between modeled precipitation at the different sites and the 13C values from barley was r2=0.78, which can be considered to be high for this type of data. In addition, 13C values decrease throughout time, with particularly low values in the Middle Bronze Age samples (figure 2). Comparison with the available palaeoclimate proxy data suggests that these isotopic signals originate from an environmental change rather than from changes in irrigation practices. The decrease in 13C coincides chronologically with a broad pattern of climate desiccation inferred from several paleoclimate proxy records (Soreq Cave, Lake Van) and climate modelling (Macrophysical Climate Model) (for details see Riehl et al. 2008).

Future work: The integration of the socio-political aspect


Considering the environmentally focussed approach outlined above, we may ask, how socio-political aspects are included in the aim to fulfil the cross-disciplinary claim. There are several textbooks on the archaeology and political history of the Near East summarizing fundamental knowledge on the cyclical political change in this area (Akkermans & Schwartz 2003; Van de Mieroop 2003). Ancient texts mostly inform about administrative issues, building and war activities of rulers in southern Mesopotamia, while the political situation in the neighbouring areas is primarily deduced from archaeological data (Van de Mieroop 2003). The development of material culture is complex and locally variable (e.g. comparing the areas east of the Euphrates with the west and the south), making it difficult to use material culture to make statements about the general socio-political background. The few texts that are useful for studying the ancient agricultural economy derive mostly from southern Mesopotamia (see contributions in the Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture). They are not directly transferable to other areas because of differing climatic conditions (irrigation vs. rainfed agriculture). Larger numbers in smaller settlements in the north compared to the south are explained by some in relation

224
with the differences in agricultural production, including lower yields per cultivated unit, providing a more extended cultivation area in northern Mesopotamia. Climatic differences between the north and the south, account for differences in agricultural management. While agriculture in the south was undertaken by institutional labour forces, it remained the responsibility of villages in the north (Van de Mieroop 2003). The consequences of these management differences have not been well studied, although some suggest that there was an increase in salinization in the south as a result of intense, institutionalized agro-production (Jacobsen & Adams 1958; cf. Powell 1985). Trade was an important economic issue, but details on concrete actions to maintain trade relations are mostly unknown. How far the difference in the ideological basis of power (secular north vs. religious south) contributed to conflict and disabled processes of adaptation to changing environments is likewise a matter of future research. The frequent passing of new rules in administration and accounting towards the end of the third millennium BC (Akkermans & Schwartz 2003) may be considered a sign of destabilization, either before or after their introduction. The details of the underlying resource situation are not widely discussed in the literature and are not often described in the ancient texts. Self-enrichment by the Akkadian kings is widely documented (cf. Van de Mieroop 2003) and may, similarly as in modern societies, have represented a significant factor in the collapse of Akkad at the end of the third millennium BC. However, before the cross-disciplinary synthesis of environmental and socio-political factors of collapse can be realised, the concrete interplay of the different socio-political factors needs to be better understood for the different areas and periods.

Simone Riehl
The examples outlined above make clear that we need to cease to search for single causes in the development of ancient societies, because linear cause-and-effect explanations are artificial philosophical constructs of single disciplines, insufficient for detecting interactions between human societies and the environment. While a shift in plant production patterns due to climate change around 4200 BP is clearly visible, the exact relationship of this shift to the cultural and political background still awaits integration. Such a goal would require cross-disciplinary cooperation which is so far only realized by some environmental historians, because such investigation requires a team of interdisciplinary researchers who are equally interested in both the humanities and the natural sciences. However, environmental history is an expanding field and has the potential to answer questions as discussed here in the near future.

References
Akkermans, P. M. M. G., Schwartz, G. M., 2003. The archaeology of Syria. From complex hunter-gatherers to early urban societies (ca. 16000 - 300 BC). Cambridge. An, C.-B. L., Tang. L., Barton, L., Chen, F.-H., 2005. Climate change and cultural response around 4000 cal yr BP in the western part of the Chinese Loess Plateau. Quaternary Research 63, 347-352. Araus, J. L., Febrero, A., Buxo, R., Camalich, M. D., Martin, D., Molina, F., Rodriguez-Ariza, M. O., Romagosa, I., 1997. Changes in carbon isotope discrimination in grain cereals from different regions of the western Mediterranean basin during the past seven millenia. Palaeoenvironmental evidence of a differential change in aridity during the late Holocene. Global Change Biology 3, 107-118. Booth, R. K., Jackson, S. T., Forman, S. L., Kutzbach, J. E., Bettis, E. A. I., Kreig, J., Wright, D. K., 2005. A severe centennial-scale drought in mid-continental North America 4200 years ago and apparent global linkages. The Holocene 15(3), 321-328. Butzer, K. W., 1997. Sociopolitical discontinuity in the Near East c. 2200 BC: Scenarios from palestine and Egypt. In: Dalfes, H. N., Kukla, G., Weiss, H. (Eds.), Third millennium BC climate change and Old World collapse. Berlin, Heidelberg, 245-296. Coombes, P., Barber, K., 2005. Environmental determinism in Holocene research: causality or coincidence? Area 37(3), 303311. Diamond, J., 2005. Collapse. How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York.

Conclusions
Even slight changes in environmental conditions may result in multiple transformations in economic organisation, and the bonding of these is difficult, if not impossible, to disentangle without an integrative and interdisciplinary methodology. Multiple lines of evidence from different methods, which are used as independent tools to investigate the same research question, help to clarify hypotheses that evolved within single disciplines.

A cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect


Ehleringer, J. R., Field, C. B., Lin, Z.-F., Kuo, C.-Y., 1986. Leaf carbon isotope and mineral composition in subtropical plants along an irridiance cline. Oecologia 70, 520-526. El-Nakhlawy, F. S., El-Fawal, M. A., 1989. Tolerance of five oil crops to salinity and temperature stresses during germination. Acta Agronomica Hungarica 38(1-2), 59-65. Farquhar, G. D., OLeary, M. H., Berry, J. A., 1982. On the relationsship between carbon isotope discrimination and the intercellular carbon dioxide concentration in leaves. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 9, 121-137. Ferrio, J. P., Araus, J. L., Bux, R., Voltas, J., Bort, J., 2005. Water management practices and climate in ancient agriculture: inferences from the stable isotope composition of archaeobotanical remains. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 14, 510-517. Frisvold, G., Kuhn, B. (Eds.), 1999. Global environmental change and agriculture. Assessing the impacts. Cheltenham. Gano, D. L., 2008. Apollo root cause analysis: a new way of thinking. Yakima, WA. Gasse, F., 2000. Hydrological changes in the African tropics since the last glacial maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews 19, 189-211. Hazan, N., Stein, M., Agnon, A., Marco, S., Nadel, D., Negendank, J. F. W., Schwab, M. J., Neev, D., 2005. The late Quaternary limnological history of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Israel. Quaternary Research 63, 60-77. Hoefer, C., 2008. Causal determinism. In: Edward N. Z. (Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2003 Edition, [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/]. Hole, F., 2007. Agricultural sustainability in the semi-arid Near East. Climate of the Past 3, 193203. Jacobsen, T., Adams, R. M.,1958. Salt and silt in ancient Mesopotamian agriculture. Science 128(3334), 1251-1258. Lemcke, J., Sturm, M., 1997. Delta 18 O and trace element measurements as proxy for the reconstruction of climate changes at Lake Van (Turkey): preliminary results. In: Dalfes, H. N., Kukla, G., Weiss, H. (Eds.), Third millennium BC climate change and Old World collapse. Berlin, 653-678. McCorriston, J., 1997. The fiber revolution. Textile extensification, alienation, and social stratification in ancient Mesopotamia. Current Anthropology 38(4), 517-535.

225
Nesbitt, M., Samuel, D., 1996. From staple crop to extinction? The archaeology and history of the hulled wheats. In: Paludosi, S., Hammer, K., Heller, J. (Eds.), Hulled wheats. promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. Workshop on Hulled wheats, 21-22 July 1995. IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute), Castelvecchio Pascoli, Tuscany, Rome, 41 - 100. Netting, R. M.,1986. Cultural ecology. Long Grove. Pearl, J., 2000. Causality: models, reasoning, and inference. Cambridge. Powell, M. A., 1985. Salt, seed, and yields in Sumerian agriculture. A critique of the theory of progressive salinization. Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archologie 75(1), 7-38. Pustovoytov, K., Schmidt, K., Taubald, H., 2007. Evidence for Holocene environmental changes in the northern Fertile Crescent provided by pedogenic carbonate coatings. Quaternary Research 67, 315-327. Riehl, S., 2006. Unser tglich Brot... - Pflanzenproduktion und Ernhrung in Troia. In: Korfmann, M. O. (Ed.), Troia. Archologie eines Siedlungshgels und seiner Landschaft. Mainz, 297-308. Riehl, S., 2007. Archaeobotanical evidence for the interrelationship of agricultural decision-making and climate change in the ancient Near East. Quaternary International, doi: 10.1016/j. quaint.2007.08.005. Riehl, S., Bryson, R. A., Pustovoytov, K., 2008. Changing growing conditions for crops during the Near Eastern Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC): The stable carbon isotope evidence. Journal of Archaeological Science 35(4), 1011-1022. Riehl, S., Nesbitt, M., 2003. Crops and cultivation in the Iron Age Near East: change or continuity? In: Fischer, B. (Ed.), Identifying Changes - The transition from Bronze to Iron Ages in Anatolia and its neighbouring regions. Proceedings of the International Workshop Istanbul, Nov. 8-9, 2002. Istanbul, 301 312. Roth, L., Kormann, K., Schweppe, H., Frbepflanzen, 1992. Pflanzenfarben: Frbemethoden, Analytik, trkische Teppiche und ihre Motive. Landberg. Staubwasser, M., Weiss, H., 2006. Holocene climate and cultural evolution in late prehistoric-early historic West Asia. Quaternary Research 66, 372-387. Stern, N., 2007. The economics of climate change. The Stern review. Cambridge.

226
Sutton, M. Q., Anderson, E. N., 2004. Introduction to cultural ecology. Oxford, New York. Van de Mieroop, M., 2003. A history of the ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC. Oxford.

Simone Riehl
Wick, L., Lemcke, G., Sturm, M., 2003. Evidence of Lateglacial and Holocene climatic change and human impact in eastern Anatolia: high-resolution pollen, charcoal, isotopic and geochemical records from the laminated sediments of Lake Van, Turkey. The Holocene 13(5), 665-675. Wilkinson, T. J., 2003. Archaeological landscapes of the Near East. Tucson.

PD Dr. Simone Riehl Universitt Tbingen Institut fr Ur- und Fhgeschichte und Archologie des Mittelelalters Zentrum fr Naturwissenschaftliche Archologie Archobotanik Rmelinstrae 23 D72070 Tbingen simone.riehl@uni-tuebingen.de