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The Taklimakan Oases: An Environmental Evolution Shown Through Geoarchaeology

Corinne Debaine-Francfort 1 Françoise Debaine 2 Abduressul Idriss 3
2 LETG - Nantes - Littoral, Environnement, Télédétection, Géomatique
CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique : UMR6554, EPHE - École pratique des hautes études, UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie, UBO - Université de Brest, UR2 - Université de Rennes 2, IGARUN - Institut de Géographie et d'Aménagement
Abstract : Amid the ocean of sand that is the Taklimakan Desert in China's Xinjiang province, evidence of human habitation has revealed a rich pastoral and agricultural history along dried-up waterways through which the Keriya River once coursed. The various states of the river, which had connected the north and south oases of the desert but now disappears into the dunes, are visible on satellite images. By confirming the hypothesis of the existence of ancient agricultural settlements on deltas—nowadays totally dry—of this river, research has clarified settlement patterns over the long term by placing them in the evolution of their environment under the influence of natural or anthropic factors. From the current bed of the Keriya River to its fossil courses, several years of pluridisciplinary studies revealed an evolution of the successive deltas of the Keriya River in at least three periods: current, antiquity (third and fourth centuries AD), and protohistory (c. 2,500–1,000 BC: Bronze and Iron ages). These successive deltas correspond to various stages of desertification. In each of them, an oasis and a vast settlement zone is centered on a main village. Studying these settlements and comparing them with those of Central Asia provides an inventory of the interactions between man, water, and the environment and illuminates constants and variables of change.
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Contributor : Corinne Debaine-Francfort <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 7:02:36 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 10:22:38 AM



Corinne Debaine-Francfort, Françoise Debaine, Abduressul Idriss. The Taklimakan Oases: An Environmental Evolution Shown Through Geoarchaeology. G. Schneier-Madanes, M-F. Courel. Water and Sustainability in Arid Regions. Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Social Sciences, Springer, pp.181-202, 2009, ⟨10.1007/978-90-481-2776-4_12⟩. ⟨halshs-00438196⟩



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