Archaeological excavations, surveys and interdisciplinary research conducted at the site of Mishrifeh and its hinterland between 1999 and 2010 by the Italian Mission of the University of Udine have furnished a large amount of archaeological and environmental data; it is now possible to sketch a reconstruction of the environmental change in the region, the site’s urban development and the patterns of settlement and land-use in the surrounding countryside.
In the presentation, attention will be focused on the reconstruction of the town’s layout and functional organization from the EBA IV to the second millennium BC, the period of main economic and urban prosperity of Qatna. The first emergence of a middle-sized urban center at Mishrifeh during the mid to late third millennium BC was followed by a phase of dramatic urban growth and radical change in the town’s layout during the MBA and then a period of urban revival during the MBA/LBA transition. During this epoch, Qatna’s royal dynasty initiated a centralized program of public and institutional building, which appears to have involved both the upper and lower cities, thus launching an important phase of urban and functional reorganization of the town.
In addition, the analysis of the excavation and survey record, combined with the results of palaeoenvironmental research, show that the formation of an urban site at Mishrifeh from the EBA IV onwards also led to a profound change in the occupation patterns of the surrounding region. The processes of urban and demographic development taking place in Mishrifeh and its hinterland during the EBA IV and the MBA instigated a striking modification of the region’s natural environment and the emergence of a new man-shaped rural landscape. At the end of the MBA there is evidence indicating the beginning of a process of dramatic environmental deterioration, which became more intense during the LBA and the IA, when abrupt climate change (ACC) episodes have been recorded at other sites of the region, such as Tell Tweini in the Jableh coastal plain.
Event is open to the public