ARCHAEOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE:"From the City to the Countryside: Climate Change Impact on the Beijing Olympics and Climate Impact on Rural Development" – United Nations – September 7, 2007
As an archaeologist, Dr. Grossman is internationally recognized as an innovator in applied technology solutions to resolve and expedite planning emergencies from unexpected or difficult discoveries in dangerous or time critical contexts, 3D paleo-environmental reconstruction and change.
Of relevance to today’s discussions is his work on the role of archaeology in establishing, otherwise unavailable, sources of time-based data for both the identification, and calibration, of environmental change, especially for the more recent past spanning the last 3000 years of human adaptation.
Archaeological Issues and Concerns:
Archaeological data are now contradicting the written record characterizing supposedly pristine environmental conditions for the historical period; also bringing to light inconsistencies between "established” core-based geotechnical chronologies and those from recently discover submerged and buried archaeological sites (in theNorth Sea & Baltic seas,for example)
Weaknesses and gaps in our data on sea level rise (cf. IPCC) from tide gauge and geological data for the critical Holocene period -.which only archaeological data may be able to fill
The need for high resolution sampling and dating (at 25 to 50 year intervals in pollen and geotechnical coring to detect subtle and/or sudden and potentially extreme shifts in climate and habitat.
The role of 3D terrain modeling and Geospatial strategies (GIS, image analysis) for the targeting of buried archaeological landscapes and past human adaptation to them.
Relevant Work and Further Reading:
This last year Dr. Grossman was invited by Elsevier/ Academic Press to write two chapters for the new 2007 Encyclopedia of Archaeology (a synopsis of the state of the discipline - with the mandate to be relevant for the next decade), one on the archaeological investigation of Toxic and Hazardous Environments, and the second, of specific relevance to issues discussed here, entitled Human-Landscape Interactions in the 21st Century, is a broad overview of:
Current archaeological and paleo-ecological evidence for prehistoric human/cultural impacts affecting, and responding to, environmental change – confluence of Geospatial Technologies and issues of environmental change and measurement.
The role that high resolution archaeological data is beginning to play in providing new insights into the processes of environmental trauma and degradation, sudden climate change, the loss ofhabitats and species diversity, sea level rise, the associated specter of inundated coastal and river habitats, as well as the often parallel pattern of encroaching desertification.
The logistical and policy implications from recent discoveries of well preserved archaeological and environmental data from formally ignored contexts beneath the sea and under the often protective land-fill of modern urban landscapes.
Finally, it suggests some geospatial strategies, and data, our children will need in order to be able to address the challenges of environmental trauma they will face in the coming decades.