The Ancient Socioecological Systems in Oman (ASOM) project examines how the environment influences human territorial behavior in pastoral ecosystems as well as how territoriality in turn shapes the environment. ASOM comes from a local Jebali-language term (ʾasὑm) for a type of stone monument used for burial and other purposes in antiquity (al-Shahri 1991: 184).
We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists using archeological and ecological techniques to examine whether and how climate and vegetation change in the semi-arid region of Dhofar, Oman, are coupled with human territorial behavior. In particular, we hope to be able to reconstruct ancient environments alongside patterns of human settlements and mobility during the Bronze Age and Iron Age in the last 6000 years. We hope that this improved understanding of the coupled human-natural system in this region will lead to the development of sustainable management and rangeland practices in human environments.