Men and Houses: Village space concept between the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas. Case Study of the Swat river valley (Pakistan) and the Almora in Kumaon (Uttarakhand - India)Valley | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


Studies in the environmental archaeology of the mountains of Central and South Asia focus on the exploration of the millennia-old river valleys in the foothills of the Hindu Kush, Karakorum and Himalayas as corridors of exchange of agricultural practices, technical knowledge and skills. The region considered in this study is the Swat Valley situated in the North of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa District which will be compared to the Himalayan regions of Almora-Kumaon valley (State of Uttarakhand in India) and to the Kashmir valley. These valleys are all located at an altitude between 800 and 2500 meters above sea level and are characterized by an similar alpine landscape. The Swat Valley in particular has a large water-basin area, enclosed by mountains, which give the valley the characteristics of a "mountain plain" rich in natural resources, forest wood and water. Compared to other Himalayan regions where climatic and environmental constraints are much greater, the environmental variety of Swat, Kashmir and Kumaon has made these valleys privileged eco-areas for settlement, agricultural development, cattle breeding - activity since antiquity and have favored the emergence and creation of important urban centers since the past. It is in these valleys therefore, that the majority of villages are concentrated, surrounded by very habitable landscapes, a rather hospitable climate and characterized by the development of common agricultural practices, mainly linked to the “double cropping” of dry mountain rice and grain (polyculture). My investigation will focus on the dynamics of contemporary landscape and habitat changes and the adaptation of the domestic architecture of the semi-nomadic Gujars and sedentary Pashtuns communities to their environment.


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