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Ottoman-era wood harvesting the topic of next Archaeology Lecture

Barry McNamara
03/20/2019
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Rather than focus on ancient events in Greece or Rome, the next Archaeology Lecture at Monmouth College will discuss a much more recent time – Ottoman Palestine in the late 19th century.

Brita Lorentzen, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University, will speak March 26 about harvesting wood in pre-industrial times in the region we know today as Israel.

Titled “Anatolian Forests on the Sea: Trees, Timber and Environment in the Ottoman Empire,” Lorentzen’s talk will be given at 7:30 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium of the College’s Center for Science and Business.

“Wood was a fundamental fuel resource and building material in pre-industrial societies including the Mediterranean, which made forests a valuable and politically strategic natural resource,” says Lorentzen, whose lecture will discuss the environmental history of the East Mediterranean forests, focusing on Ottoman Palestine. “During this time, technological, economic and sociopolitical change in the Eastern Mediterranean led to increased building activity and demand for wood building materials, while facilitating increased access to timber-rich areas, including forested areas in southern Anatolia, the Black Sea coast and Europe.”

Lorentzen has conducted research using tree-ring dating to date and source wood from Ottoman-era historical buildings and archaeological sites, as well as modern forest trees, which provide further documentation of local environmental history and enduring environmental impacts of human activity in the region.

Free and open to the public, Lorentzen’s talk is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Western Illinois Society.