Origins, development and consolidation of agriculture and herding practices in the Near East

The origins of farming societies in the Near East.

The Near East, a pristine region where the first farming communities flourished and developed, is an exceptional and unique framework where to study and understand one of the most significant economic and social transformations of humankind.

New environmental and climatic conditions at the beginning of the Holocene run parallel to a specialization in gathering capacities and to the appearance of a new set of subsistence activities based on both animal and vegetal resources. Social dynamics, a symbolic world and technology also suffered a deep transformation and innovation, with a different impact in each region. All these were the bases for the later development of complex societies that led to the appearance of first urban empires and cities.

Many sites have been excavated in collaboration with international partners from the Levant: Tell Halula (Syria, DGAM) and Akarçay Tepe (Turkey, Istanbul University) in the middle Euphrates valley, Chagar Bazar (Syria, University of Liege) in the upper Khabour valley, and the sites of Umm el-Tlel, el Kowm 2 and Mamarrul Nasr (Syria, University Paris X) in the central Syrian Desert (Palmyra and Kowm basins).

The most remarkable projects are:

  1. Consolidation of the Neolithic Communities in northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia.
  2. Technological change, social change and Neolithisation process in the Near East. Contributions from three different ecological areas: Euphrates Valley, Djezireh, and the oasis of Palmyra.