Archaeology, Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Online Seminar – School of Humanities Archaeology, Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Online Seminar – School of Humanities

Archaeology, Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Online Seminar

Dr Joseph W. Lehner | The University of Sydney

Resiliency or devastation: how industry drove social and environmental change in ancient

Current trends in archaeological research have demonstrated a remarkable capacity among human groups to build resilience against problems like changes in climate, ecosystems, and demography. But what are the limits of resiliency? Within this theoretical framework, we examine over 5,000 years of strategic resource use in Arabia, in particular copper production, and how this early industry had a profound and lasting effect on the social and natural environment. A defining pattern that we now observe is a problem of periodic production, where bursts of production are followed by periods of several hundred to thousands of years – a pattern that is increasingly explained by anthropogenic environmental degradation. Testing this
problem, this presentation illustrates the key results of the 2019-2020 survey and excavations in Wadi al-Raki in the Al-Dhahirah Governate of Oman conducted by the Archaeological Water Histories of Oman (ArWHO) Project. The ancient industrial landscape of Wadi al-Raki, with evidence of industrial-scale copper production evinced by nearly 200,000 tons of copper slag and associated settlements, is one of the largest copper production sites in southwestern Asia. Here we report on this new interdisciplinary research in materials science, anthracology, geochronology, pottery analysis, and satellite detection of ancient copper working sites and wood biomass to test how industry likely drove social and environmental change.


The Department of Archaeology hosts a number of lively departmental research seminars. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Online on Zoom

24 April 2020,
4:00-5:00 pm


  • If you are already registered for the Archaeology, Museums and Heritage seminar series, you will receive an email containing the link to the Zoom meeting.
  • If you would like to be added to the Archaeology, Museums and Heritage seminar series email list, please contact the convenors (email below) or fill in this form

Seminar Series convenors:
Agata Calbrese,Lorraine Leung, Kieran McGee, Simon Wyatt-Spratt, and Sareeta Zaid
Click here to email

The Department of Archaeology is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).

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Apr 17 2020


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


This event is free



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