Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)

Degree Level





Jesse Casana

Committee Member

Kenneth Kvamme

Second Committee Member

Fred Limp


Social sciences, Corona, Kranzhugel, Syria, Third millennium, Urbanism


First named by von Oppenheim over a century ago, the distinctive third millennium BC kranzhügeln, or "wreath-mound," sites of the Syrian Desert remain a poorly understood phenomenon. While archaeological investigations have been undertaken at a handful of kranzhügel-like sites including Tell Chuera, Tell al-Rawda, and Tell Beydar, the overall number, geographic distribution, and morphological variation of so-called "kranzhügel" sites remains largely unexplored.

1960s-era CORONA satellite imagery available through the CORONA Atlas Project ( now enables more systematic documentation of the kranzhügel sites and the production site-scale visual and quantitative analysis. Analysis of kranzhügel distribution and morphology reveals that the sites are much more varied in structure and geographic extent than their traditional definition presumes. Along with these new insights, the compilation of a comprehensive catalog of the kranzhügel and other circular site environmental-geographic distribution and comparative structural analysis lays the groundwork for more sophisticated investigations into what Akkermans and Schwartz (2003:256) term the "kranzhügel problem" - the enigmatic, short-lived third millennium urbanization of the arid Syrian steppe.