IUAP Project: The Land of Sumer and Akkad


This study falls within the framework of the Interuniversity Attraction Poles project (IUAP-DWTC) 'The land of Sumer and Akkad'. The main objective of this IUAP- project is to investigate the interaction between the palaeoenvironments and the development of the social, political, and economic institutions of the populations in Mesopotamia in the middle and late Holocene. In order to present such a complex picture of one of the oldest civilizations of the world, a synthetic treatment is necessary from a varied and extensive array of data coming from different disciplines, i.e. geo-sciences, archaeology, philology and history.

The objective of this study in particular is to investigate the possible environmental and ecological stresses resulting from the changes of social development and the growing agriculture systems; and to assess major changes in the fluvial and coastal environments of the Tigris-Euphrates-Karun Rivers and estuaries during the Holocene.


The study focuses on two research themes:

  • Remote sensing: to establish maps with GIS and to reconstruct palaeochannels and related irrigation systems based on satellite images integrated with archaeological data. Field control will finalise the mapping.
  • Geoarcheological mapping: to reconstruct palaeochannels, to establish the litho- and chronostratigraphy of the fluvial sediments, to document the palaeogeography of the study area, the elaboration of human intervention on the natural environment. The studied material encompasses existing boreholes and cross-sections, which will be reinterpreted and integrated within a GIS. Additional data such as boreholes, electrical resistivity imaging and 14C dating will be acquired on the field.


Related media(s)
Geographical location of the study area (satellite image 27/08/2001 NASA)
Internal member(s)
Cecile Baeteman
Vanessa M.A. Heyvaert
Other member(s)
Laetitia Dupin
Federal Science Policy - Research Programmes - IUAP project, 'The Land of Sumer and Akkad'.
Partners and sponsors
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