Land management and the construction of terraces for dry farming: The case of Soreq catchment, Israel

Yelena Elgart-Sharon*, Naomi Porat, Yuval Gadot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The construction of terrace walls for dry farming in the highlands of the Levant was traditionally associated with demographic growth that caused pressure on available land for cultivation. In this paper we suggest an alternative model and claim that terraces were adopted as a subsistence strategy at periods when land ownership was centralized in the hands of either powerful landowners or managed through complex family-based cooperation like the Musha system of the Late Antiquity period. This claim is based both on the study of land use and settlement patterns within the Upper Nahal Soreq, north-west of Jerusalem, where close to 350 excavated or surveyed sites of all kinds were catalogued and mapped, and on the results of an OSL dating project that directly dated the construction of terrace walls for dry farming in the highlands of Jerusalem in general and at the Upper Nahal Soreq catchment in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-289
Number of pages16
JournalOxford Journal of Archaeology
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1691/13

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