Verkinderen, Peter. 2015. Waterways of Iraq and Iran in the early Islamic period: changing rivers and landscapes of the Mesopotamian plain. I.B. Tauris.
The waterways of ancient Iraq were crucial to its prosperity. While they were maintained, Iraq and neighbouring Khuzistan, in southwest Iran, were the richest and most productive agricultural areas of the Middle East, supporting the Sasanian, Umayyad and Abbasid empires. When the waterways changed or fell into decay, both the prosperity and the political role of Iraq largely disappeared. Understanding the course of the rivers and how they changed is therefore pivotal to understanding the history of the region. Peter Verkinderen’s important book provides the first major re-examination of the waterways of early Islamic Iraq in almost seventy years. Presenting a much fuller and more accurate picture than has previously been possible through analysis of modern satellite images, this is a work of the utmost importance, unlikely to be superseded for many years to come.
About the Author:
Peter Verkinderen (PhD) is research associate of Islamic Studies in the ERC Project “The Early Islamic Empire at Work – The View from the Regions Toward the Center”, at the University of Hamburg.