Human-Landscape Interactions in the 21st Century begins with a review of background assumptions and concepts underpinning, and at times obscuring, modern research priorities and debates in human ecology and landscape studies from the perspective and data limits of archaeology.
The overview describes current archaeological and paleo-ecological evidence for prehistoric human/cultural impacts affecting, and responses to, environmental change, as well as recent popular theories attributing significant episodes of culture-change to various, and at times, biblical, catastrophic droughts and floods in human history.
International case studies are used to highlight the role archaeology is beginning to play in providing new insights into the processes of environmental trauma and degradation, sudden climate change, the loss of habitats and species diversity, sea level rise, the associated spectre of inundated of coastal and river habitats, and of the often parallel pattern encroaching desertification.
The treatment also addresses the logistical and policy implications of recent discoveries of well preserved archaeological and environmental data from formally ignored contexts beneath the sea and under the protective land-fill of modern urban landscapes.
Finally, it suggests some geospatial strategies, and data, our children will need to help address the challenges of environmental trauma in the future.
PHOTO: © 2007 JOEL W. GROSSMAN, Ph.D.
From: Grossman, 2007a; Figure 5
GROSSMAN, JOEL W.
Human-Landscape Interactions in the 21st Century. In Pearsall, D. (ed). Encyclopedia of Archaeology, Elsevier/Academic Press, Oxford, England (Revised release date: October 27, 2007)