Kite photograph of 600 sq. m. excavation of street and residential area at Tell Leilan, a capital city of 3rd millennium BC Subir, in northern Mesopotamia, modern NE Syria. (H. Weiss, 1991)

Unlike the irrigated south, northern Mesopotamian societies engaged in dry-farming - that is, rain-fed agriculture.


ArchaeoSim simulates the population and agricultural dynamics of ancient Subir, the dry-farming region of northern Mesopotamia, from 2600 to 1728 BC. The simulation models farm area, grain yields, population growth and immigration, grain stores, some migration of non-farm labor from smaller sites to larger, and a simple model of agricultural surplus production. The data driving ArchaeoSim is a high resolution archaeological survey of the Leilan survey region, a 30 km transect of 1900 sq kms in NE Syria, spanning the Khabur triangle from the Turkish to the Iraqi borders, giving settlement sizes and locations. This data forms the maps on the screen. ArchaeoSim also uses paleoclimate data for rainfall levels.

Documentation :

Present-day dry-farming in NE Syria. Foreground is fallow field in lentils and sunflowers. Middle ground is harvested cereal stubble. In the distance, archaeological sites, and sheep grazing on stubble. (H. Weiss, 1984)

Ginger Booth and Harvey Weiss, updated April 2009