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Modelling pastoral adaptation in arid lands: an ethnoarchaeological approach


Pastoral groups are often pictured as marginal realities within the settled agricultural world. Yet, herders are numerous and widespread, and represent the core of some regional economies around the world. Pastoralism is among the most efficient strategies for food security in marginal environments. These areas are home to overlooked biodiversity, and even actual deserts host a surprising variability of pastoral societies. Current desert dwellers are, in fact, living archives of successful adaptation to arid lands, expressed in a set of tangible and intangible values, which are yet to be fully understood. Nowadays, global warming and dry lands expansion require fresh tools to study pastoralists adaptation in the old world deserts, via innovative and multidisciplinary approaches. Mainly drawing upon data collected in the course of the candidate’s doctoral research, this project focuses on the study of the mechanisms of adaptation of the Kel Tadrart Tuareg, a small lineage of herders living in the Tadrart Acacus massif (SW Libya, Sahara), by an ethnoarchaeological approach. The aims of the project are: (i) to use ethnographic and ethnohistorical data from the Kel Tadrart to build an agent based model (ABM) to explore choices and strategies of adaptation of pastoral people; (ii) to apply the model/simulation approach to investigate past adaptations in SW Libya in historical times (1000BC-1000AD); (iii) to generate a policy-oriented model for the pastoral exploitation of arid and semiarid lands.

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Placa De La Merce, 10-12
08002 Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 230 036,60
Administrative Contact
Eva Martín (Ms.)