Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Degree Level





Jesse J. Casana

Committee Member

Fred Limp

Second Committee Member

Marvin Kay


Ancient Near East, Archaeology, Iron Age, Late Bronze Age, Syria, Tell Qarqur


This dissertation analyzes the material culture, paleobotanical, and faunal remains excavated at the site of Tell Qarqur, Syria, recovered from occupational levels dating from the end of the Late Bronze Age to the Iron II period (from approximately 1200 to 700 BC). Based on archaeological evidence and ancient textual sources, many ancient Near Eastern kingdoms and polities endured social and political turmoil during the late 13th and early 12th centuries BC. Most likely caused by an unknown hostile group or groups, the destruction of monumental scale architecture and the disruption to the people of Qarqur’s agricultural and animal husbandry practices demonstrate that the residents of Qarqur did not escape the effects of the instability that occurred throughout much of the wider region. However, in the subsequent Iron I period, the archaeological record shows that the inhabitants adjusted to these new realities through the adoption of alternative subsistence strategies, and eventually began the gradual recovery of architectural complexity. During the Iron II period, regional survey data and the foundation of new domestic architecture over most of the area of Tell Qarqur indicate significant population growth in the Ghab Basin in general and on-site in particular. Fortification building initiatives by the kingdom of Hamath and the resettlement practices of an expansionist Neo-Assyrian Empire may have been contributing factors in these demographic changes.

The progression, from an established societal system disrupted by sudden changes caused by exogenous forces, to the adaptation, reorganization, and recovery engendered by Qarqur’s inhabitants in reaction to those changes, and the subsequent expansion of the settlement area and population beyond their previous levels, is analogous to what ecologists alternatively call the adaptive cycle or the progression of the four ecosystem functions, concepts that are integral to resilience theory. This theoretical approach forms an interpretive framework that further illustrates the inhabitants of Qarqur’s ability to adjust to changing conditions at the settlement and to exploit various resources from the surrounding environment throughout the duration of the Iron I and Iron II periods.