Alexander David Symons

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Cornell U.

Grant number

Gr. 10735

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Symons, Alexander (Cornell U.) "Walking Walls: Herds, Enclosures and Land Claims in the Late Bronze Age South Caucasus."

This research seeks to develop an understanding of the role played by livestock herds (sheep, goat, cattle, pig) in the renegotiated human-land relationship that emerged in the Late Bronze (LBA) and Early Iron Age (EIA) in the South Caucasus. This research investigates how herds interact with settlement enclosures in the experience, perception, and imagination of landscapes as territories of power and control. The LBA/EIA South Caucasus is an ideal context to explore herd-enclosure dynamics, as settlement enclosures emerged in an historical landscape shaped by animal pastoralism rather than settled agriculture. This research will use zooarchaeological and isotopic analyses to reconstruct herds from faunal remains excavated at Dmanisis Gora and Mtsvane Gora, Georgia and Gegharot, Armenia, which will then be emplaced in the enclosure landscape by exploring the intervisibility and interconnectivity of pastureland and settlements. Finally, I will investigate the imagined relationship between people and domestic herd animals through the published repertoire of representational imagery depicting livestock. By investigating landscapes shaped by the interrelationship of humans and animals, this research will offer a comprehensive view of the role of herds in the emergence of enclosure landscapes and establish a model for the analysis of herds as units of socio-political action.