Abstract: S. Heidemann (Universität Hamburg) - Why Bukhara? – The View from The Empire
If we look at Early Islamic Empire, we are confronted with one of the most diverse regions of the world, in the most extensively settled strip of the Western Eurasian and North African dry belt. The regions share a common Hellenistic history in its Mediterranean and Iranian form. From the Iberian Peninsula to the Hindukush, we see in the Early Islamic period certain communalities, the growth of population and agricultural economy, and from approximately the year 1000 a steady decline on several levels.
Bukhara serves an ideal test case for the application of archaeological, geographical, and historical methods to analyse the entanglement of large historical shifts such as the large scale settlement of Arabs in Transoxiana in the post-conquest period, the investment in irrigation and agriculture, the role of the political system, and the medieval climate changes.
Abstract: J. A. Wehberg (Universität Hamburg) - Remote Sensing- and GIS-Applications for the Spatial Explicit Detection and Analysis of Environmental and Infrastructural Reconstruction
Modern archaeology, which tries to trace the remains of former cultures as landscape-shaping phenomena, is hardly conceivable without modern GIS methods and data. "Landscape" is the interface to process and climate modelling. For archaeologists interested not only in artifacts and historians not only interested in texts but in historical landscapes and environments influenced by man, GIS and remote sensing techniques offer a range of tools.
The most obvious is the identification of anthropogenic structures by analyzing digital elevation models (DEM), radar and optical data. By derivation of parameters (terrain parameters, indices, etc.), spatial data can be generated, which stress differences that are hardly visible in the raw data. By using different classification methods, these structures can be derived from the continuous data. Examples include settlement patterns, military installations like city walls, etc.
Less obvious is the reconstruction of old irrigation and drainage systems. If there are features in the landscape with prehistoric and even historical character, it can be possible to predict potential hotspots of settlement activity by derivation of former water bodies (both lineaments and drainless sinks). For that purpose, we propose to identify entities that show different patterns, for example, in the annual cycle of soil moisture derived from multitemporal radar scenes (Sentinel-1A). In general, GIS tools offer the option of mapping topologies. This of course applies to the historical structures and landscape in the same way: settlement pattern, pre-modern industrial sites, roads, irrigation systems, old and shifting riverbeds and lakes, and other interaction of humans with landscape can be identified and mapped.
Basically dry regions are particularly suitable for the analysis of the earth surface by radar data because of the lack of a dense vegetation cover, which would hinder the radar waves to penetrate the ground. This reflects both elevation data and indices derived from radar sensors. The irrigated Oasis of Bukhārā was in historical periods before 1200 C.E. much larger and many areas were irrigated only in one historical period (ʿAbbāsid to Sāmānid 8th to 10th c. C.E.). These formerly irrigated fringes of the oasis are in the present day arid landscape ideal for remote sensing.
Available data of late Holocene climate conditions from model runs e.g. ECHAM5, are the basis for the reconstruction of spatial and temporal high resolution raster data of climate variables like temperature and precipitation for specific moments in time. Envisaged are monthly mean values and, e.g. coldest/warmest month, time series and annual cycles. Predictors for the downscaling procedure can be derived from digital elevation models.
Abstract A. V. Omelchenko (State Hermitage Museum (Russia)) - New Materials from the Excavations of the city of Paykand in the Bukharan Oasis
Paykand is a city on the lower stream of the Zerafshan river in the south-western part of the Bukhara oasis (in modern Uzbekistan). It is located at the intersection of trade routes running from East Turkestan across Chach (Tashkent) and Samarkand to Merv and the Near East, and from Eastern Europe across Khorezm to Tokharistan and the Indian subcontinent.
Paykand has been excavated with large interruptions since 1913. In 1981 the joint Russian-Uzbek Bukharan expedition (BAE) began to work on the site.
Over the past five years new interesting materials from the excavations have been obtained by the expedition from all parts of the city. On the citadel we uncovered a part of the earliest fortification and maybe religious structures, which can be dated by dint of pottery assemblage to the end of 4th – 2nd c. B.C. The garrison barracks and an “administrative quarter” from the end of the 3rd – 5th c. A.D. are in the process of excavation as well. The fragment of mural painting, coins and other elements of material culture of that time were found. The study of the Citadel gave us iron weapons of the turn of our era; the treasure of 15 silver Bukharkhuda drachms, coins and ostraca of Abbasid time, etc.
On the square near the citadel our expedition discovered the blocks of rooms which were connected by the street. There were three large construction phases: the 12th , the 9th – 10th and the 5th (?) – 7th c. A.D.
A study of the residential area of Shahristân 1 showed that on the east side it included a large house with grand hall, bedrooms, kitchen and a narrow corridor. Nearby we found the treasure of more than 4500 copper coins of the second half of the 8th c. A.D. Small dwelling blocks of three rooms were situated on the west side of the quarter. In a corner we uncovered a special structure which could be an early-medieval Sogdian pub or hostel. There were small treasure coins of Asbar, early-caliphate dirhams and some Sogdian and Arabian inscriptions on vessels from Shahristân 1.
In Shahristân 2, under the street which was near the southern gates of the city and the local bazar, we opened a system of water supply and sewerage. On a rubbish dump which appeared in the residential area after the desolation of Paykand in the 11 c. A.D., we found abundant glazed pottery assemblage and bronze things.
On the eastern side of south rabad (suburb) we fixed an interesting situation: there was a public bathhouse which transformed into a winter mosque when the city begun to be short of water at the beginning of the Karakhanid period.
Abstract: Sören Stark (ISAW -New York University) - Agriculture and Irrigation in the Bukhara Oasis from Late Antiquity and Early Islamic Period