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Studying Micro-Scale Socio-Ecological Development In Marginal Zones: An Integrated Methodology (MiSSED)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The proposed research is to develop a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate socio-ecological networks in marginal regions at local scale. Locality and marginality have been often overlooked but are focal points in understanding the complex relationships between environment and human populations. Marginal alluvial zones bore witness to the development of agricultural and subsequently urban societies, and continue to represent one of the most exploited (but fragile) environments on our planet. The case study of this proposal focuses on the unique alluvial system of the 'oasis' environments of Central Asia. This research will develop a novel approach in order to identify and interpret local and sub-regionalenvironmental, and ecological 'niches' and their possible role in socialchange. The small scale approach recognises that there are dynamic local mechanisms, both environmental and anthropogenic, that have often been missed in more traditional 'macro-level' approaches; it is essential to recognize and understand these processes in order to fully grasp the dynamics of marginal occupation. In addressing these questions, the research utilises an integrated method combining remote sensing,geoarchaeology and palaeogeography in order to develop socio-ecological models applicable for examining broader questions of marginality incomparative perspective. The first phase of the research employs an investigation of high-resolution and multi-spectral imagery, inconjunction with digital elevation models, to identify potential micro-environmental regions. Based on these findings, a robust geoarchaeological study will be conducted in order to identify sub-surface characteristics of soils and alluvial sediments. This approach willfacilitate the investigation of diachronic changes and, in conjunction with the remote sensing analysis, will enable the development of adiachronic socio-ecological model for this marginal region.

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