The Cities in Transoxiana – Occupation, Agriculture, and Environmental Changes in the First Millennium - The Bukhara Oasis, Oct. 7-9, 2015 Universität Hamburg
The workshop was organized in collaboration with the ERC project "The Early Islamic Empire at Work - The View from the Regions Toward the Center", The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University (ISAW), and Musée du Louvre, Paris (see program).
The aim of this workshop was to bring together experts of archaeology, historical science, and geography in order to approach the geographical turn of historical research.
Digital 4-dimensional mapping allows completely new venues of historical research. The additional dimension of showing geomorphologic structures and changes over time enables geo-historical models that can indicate shifting borders, the opening and closing of mints over time, irrigation systems expanding and contracting dependent on political stability, the effects of nomadic invasions, climate change, and so forth.
Hence the economy and productivity of irrigation systems in the oasis of Bukhara can be compared with environmental, historical, and archaeological data. Moreover, the integrated geographical data of several surveys, projects, historical maps, and excavations can be checked against climate data, periods of nomad movements, and major conquests.
On Wednesday night, Sören Stark (ISAW) presented a lecture on the long walls of Bukhara as part of the Early Islamic Empire Lecture Series. The following morning, a workshop was held with the team of the ERC project
The Oasis of Bukhara - GIS conference commenced on Thursday afternoon. Research questions (S. Heidemann) and past Russian research (A. Naymark, Hofstra University) within the oasis were considered. Two current excavation projects in the Bukhara Oasis by the Universities of Naples and Barcelona were presented by S. Vincenzi and S. Pozzi. Jürgen Paul, Universität Halle-Wittenberg, deconstructed the nevertheless inspiring attempts of R. Bulliet to combine history with studies on climate change in the 10th and 11th centuries. The lecture was remarkable in this regard: it made it obvious that a multidisciplinary approach requires the participation of experts in archaeology and geography to provide a rigorous scientific and methodological approach. Sören Stark (ISAW-NYU) investigated nomad-sedentary relations and agricultural investments from an archaeological perspective.
On Friday morning, the joint French-Austrian research efforts since 2009 were presented. The French-Austrian cluster of researchers focus on patterns of population and depopulation from the Achaemenids to the 19th century (R. Rante), on geomorphology (E. Fouache, Sorbonne University Paris, Abou Dhabi), and toponyms within the oasis (F. Schwarz, Academy of Science, Vienna).
Fiona Kidd (New York University, Abu Dhabi campus) outlined the future research of the NYU team within the oasis of Bukhara and presented the first results of their new archaeological investigation.
For the comparison with Bukhara, Peter Verkinderen (Universität Hamburg) presented his research on the irrigation channels and textual evidence in Khuzistan.
The workshop resulted in developments towards a project application.
Bukhara Workshop Thursday Oct. 7, 2015
Francois Ömer Akakca, Dr. Jan Wehberg and Prof. Dr. Stefan Heidemann
Prof. Dr. Eric Fouache, Dr. Olaf Conrad, Katharina Mewes and Dr. Hannah-Lena Hagemann
Dr. Hannah-Lena Hagemann and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Paul
Amnuayvit Thitibordin and Prof. Dr. Sören Stark
Dr. Rocco Rante