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The semiarid plain of Lower Khuzestan, SW Iran, is drained by three active rivers: Karun, Karkheh, and Jarrahi. In this study, the history of this apparently homogeneous topographic landscape was investigated for the first time in detail through surficial geology and archaeological mapping. The results of satellite image, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) digital elevation model (DEM), and aerial photograph analyses reveal several phases of paleochannels, relict fans, and large lobate landforms associated with the present-day rivers. In addition to this, a wealth of archaeological canals, of various types and shapes, and sites has been detected. Correlations of archaeological features with environmental attributes in a geographical information system (GIS) show that the spatial distribution of the settlements and canals was closely related to the dynamic nature of the rivers. With the available data, keys to interpret the changes of the rivers are presented and a relative chronology is suggested for the evolution of the landscape of the plain.

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