The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions: Strategies for Investigating Anthropogenic Landscapes, Dynamic Environments, and Climate Change in the Human Past, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions

Strategies for Investigating Anthropogenic Landscapes, Dynamic Environments, and Climate Change in the Human Past, 1st Edition

Edited by Daniel Contreras


268 pages

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Paperback: 9780367872687
pub: 2019-12-10
Hardback: 9781138901735
pub: 2016-09-13
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pub: 2016-08-25
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The impacts of climate change on human societies, and the roles those societies themselves play in altering their environments, appear in headlines more and more as concern over modern global climate change intensifies. Increasingly, archaeologists and paleoenvironmental scientists are looking to evidence from the human past to shed light on the processes which link environmental and cultural change. Establishing clear contemporaneity and correlation, and then moving beyond correlation to causation, remains as much a theoretical task as a methodological one.

This book addresses this challenge by exploring new approaches to human-environment dynamics and confronting the key task of constructing arguments that can link the two in concrete and detailed ways. The contributors include researchers working in a wide variety of regions and time periods, including Mesoamerica, Mongolia, East Africa, the Amazon Basin, and the Island Pacific, among others. Using methodological vignettes from their own research, the contributors explore diverse approaches to human-environment dynamics, illustrating the manifold nature of the subject and suggesting a wide variety of strategies for approaching it. This book will be of interest to researchers and scholars in Archaeology, Paleoenvironmental Science, Ecology, and Geology.

Table of Contents


1. Correlation is Not Enough – Building Better Arguments in the Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions

Daniel A. Contreras

Case Studies

2. Convergence and Divergence as Problems of Explanation In Land Use Histories - Two Mexican Examples

Aleksander Borejsza and Arthur A. Joyce

Alluvial geoarchaeology

3. From the river to the fields: the contribution of micromorphology to the study of hydro-agrosystems in semi-arid environments (Phoenix, Arizona)

Louise Purdue

Micromorphology and agrosystems

4. Regional Climate, Local Paleoenvironment, and Early Cultivation in the middle Wadi el-Hasa, Jordan

Daniel A. Contreras and Cheryl Makarewicz

Paleolandscape Reconstruction in Archaeology

5. Human-Environment Interactions through the Epipalaeolithic of Eastern Jordan

Matthew D. Jones, Lisa Maher, Tobias Richter, Danielle Macdonald, and Louise Martin

Integrating archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data through on-site and off-site stratigraphy

6. Living on the Edge: Pre-Columbian Habitation of the Desert Periphery of the Chicama Valley, Perú

Ari Caramanica and Michele Koons

Landscape Paleobotany

7. A fine-grained analysis of terra preta formation: understanding causality through microartifactual and chemical indices in the Central Amazon

Anna T. Browne Ribeiro

Pedology for Archaeology

8. External Impacts on Internal Dynamics: Effects of Paleoclimatic and Demographic Variability on Acorn Exploitation along the Central California Coast

Brian F. Codding and Terry L. Jones

Spatially Explicit Behavioral Ecology

9. Describing Microenvironments Used for Nomadic Pastoralist Habitation Sites: Explanatory Tools for Surfaces, Places, and Networks

Joshua Wright

Simple Suitabilit

About the Editor

Daniel A. Contreras is an archaeologist focused on human-environment interactions in the past, particularly anthropogenic and geomorphic components of dynamic landscapes and environmental change. He pursues these interests in contexts ranging from complex polities in Andean South America and Mesoamerica to early Neolithic societies experimenting with domestication and village life in Southwest Asia. He is currently a LabEx OT-Med postdoctoral researcher in the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie (IMBE) and Groupement de recherche en économie quantitative d’Aix-Marseille (GREQAM) at Aix-Marseille Université.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology