Under the direction of Dr. Charles Redman, Mr. Said Ennahid will collect data for his doctoral dissertation. He will combine textual and field research to reconstruct settlement patterns in Northern Morocco, during the medieval period (9th - 14th centuries AD).He will focus on a trade route which ran from Tangier to Fes, the southern extension of which extended through the Sahara Desert into West Africa. Using both Landstat and topographic maps he will survey selected areas, locate all sites, plot their positions and then make surface collections of ceramics and other cultural materials. These latter permit the assemblage to be assigned to specific time period and also provide information about site function. The sites themselves will be analyzed in both an immediate environmental and larger regional context. Because extensive written information is available for this region and time period, archival research will supplement the field survey. The goal of this work is to determine how settlement pattern changed over time. During the medieval period the region was governed by successive dynasties and the economy underwent major reorganization. Originally it was `staple based` - wealth was generated through taxation on local agricultural production - and it is hypothesized that both major and minor towns and administrative centers were located to facilitate this goal. This system however shifted with the development of the trans-Saharan trade. Gold, ivory and other goods which originated in West Africa were carried North through Morocco in caravans and then sent onwards, often to Europe. Wealth, under this system, was generated not through control of staples but rather control of this lucrative trade. Archaeologists have postulated that this economic reorganization also resulted in a major change in settlement pattern. Through his field and archival research, Mr. Ennahid will attempt to determine whether this is correct. To understand how states and empires function, archaeologists make extensive use of settlement pattern data. For early time periods no option is available because written records are absent. Such information, although often plentiful, is often very difficult to interpret. Medieval Morocco offers an excellent controlled situation for the refinement of archaeological methodology. Given the lack of ground cover sites are easy to locate and map. A well developed ceramic chronology allows easy dating. Because insight into the economic system can be gained independently through written documents, it is then possible to determine how settlement and economics relate. Thus the project will make a methodological as well as substantive contribution. It will also assist in training a promising young scientist.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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Arizona State University
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