Environmental Topical and Case
The environment of the Karak region of central Jordan is a unique combination of geology, geography, hydrology, and climate that produced a wide variety of flora and fauna. When the environment was favorable, a civilization could flourish if people learned to use the natural resources productively.
How did each civilization interact with their environment?
Archaeologists depend on the geologist, geographer, and archaeobotanist for insights to answer this question.
Geologists study the rock and soil types that exist in the Karak region. The primary rock type is limestone used for most building construction. Basalt is another important building stone that exists throughout the Karak region. Soils, formed through the weathering of limestone and basalt, are very rich, productive soils when combined with enough moisture.
Geographers study the unique topography of the Karak region. The eastern boundary of the Karak region is desert. The western boundary is the Dead Sea, over 400m below sea level. The northern and southern boundaries are formed by deep wadis (valleys). Numerous geologic faults crisscross the region causing variations in the topography. The central part of the Karak region is higher in elevation than its surrounds leading to greater rainfall. Harnessing the productivity of the land meant utilizing the hills and valleys to capture the rainfall and controlling the water resources. Without this, civilization could not survive.
Archaeobotanist work with the remains of flora and fauna recovered from the excavation. The flora and fauna remains are clues to the nature of the ancient environment and how well each civilization interacted with it. Normally occupation clustered in regions where food could be grown and animals raised.
The following Case Studies will give the reader some insight into how each environmental specialist gathers information and interprets it for the archaeologist to use.