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Geoarchaeology: The Human-Environmental Approach

Geoarchaeology: The Human-Environmental Approach
Carlos Cordova

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Geoarchaeology is traditionally concerned with reconstructing the environmental aspects of past societies using the methods of the earth sciences. The field has been steadily enriched by scholars from a diversity of disciplines and much has happened as the importance of global perspectives on environmental change has emerged. Carlos Cordova, provides a fully up-to-date account of geoarchaeology that reflects the important changes that have occurred in the past four decades. Innovative features include: the development of the human-ecological approach and the impact of technology on this approach; how the diversity of disciplines contributes to archaeological questions; frontiers of archaeology in the deep past, particularly the Anthropocene; the geoarchaeology of the contemporary past; the emerging field of ethno-geoarchaeology; the role of geoarchaeology in global environmental crises and climate change.

Table of Contents

  • List of figures List of tables Introduction Chapter 1 The nature of geoarchaeology The nature of geoarchaeology and its practitioners The three major traditions in geoarchaeology The field and its status in and outside science Practice, training, and rapidly evolving subfields Chapter 2 Theoretical and methodological foundations Introduction Theory in geoarchaeology The geoarchaeological method Models of inquiry and interpretation Reconstructing the past The explanation of a complex and chaotic world Concluding remarks Chapter 3 The geoarchaeological record: Concept and contexts An epistemological background An all-inclusive geoarchaeological record The contextual levels: site, setting, landscape and environment Models of interpretation Chapter 4 The geoarchaeological record: Interpretation issues Visualizing time, causality, and context Causality in natural and cultural transform processes Time-transgressive phenomena and multi-causal effects Archaeological visibility, invisibility, and absence The virtues of off-site geoarchaeology Legacy effects, relicts, and palimpsests Modern analogs, reference analogs, and modern references Sampling and interpretation of the record Correlation and its issues Chapter 5 The human-environmental tradition in geoarchaeology Introduction The ecological paradigm The ecological context in geoarchaeology Geoarchaeology after Archaeology as Human Ecology The rise of the Anthropocene and global climate change Perspectives on the anthropic and non-anthropic worlds Geoarchaeology and environmental history Chapter 6 Geoarchaeology and human evolution Introduction Geology, climate changes, and biogeography Geoarchaeology in paleoanthropological research Contextual and issues Case 6.1 Context and scale in the Olduvai hominin record Chapter 7 Geoarchaeology and the anthropization of the world Introduction The proto-anthropic period as a gray zone Geoarchaeology and the pre- and proto-anthropic periods Case 7.1 Between paleontological and archaeological sites: Geoarchaeological issues in Pre-Clovis mammoth localities Case 7.2 The geoarchaeology of early Australian human environments at Lake Mungo Chapter 8 The geoarchaeology of hunter-gatherer landscapes Introduction Hunter-gatherer societies and their environmental contexts Geoarchaeological approaches to hunter-gatherer landscaapes Case 8.1 Epipaleolithic hunter-gatherers of the Eastern Levant. Sites, settings and landscapes in a rapidly changing environment Case 8.2: The geoarchaeology of the Archaic period in the Great Plains of North America Chapter 9 The record of early agriculture and its diffusion Introduction Agricultural beginnings: Contextual models Neolithic impacts at different scales Geoarchaeological context and research strategies Case 9.1 Geoarchaeology of two Near Eastern Neolithic settlements: Ain Ghazal and Ain Abu-Nukhaila, and the first agricultural environmental crisis Case 9.2 The elusive environmental impact of the arrival of pastoralism in Southern Africa. Chapter 10 Complex societal-environmental systems and the collapse phenomenon Introduction Complex societal-environmental systems The rise and collapse phenomenon Research contexts Case 10.1 Ancient sustainability, risks, management, and centralization in large river basins: Three examples. Case 10.2 The Classic Maya collapse and the degradation of soils in the Maya lowlands: Geoarchaeological models of landscape transformation. Chapter 11 The geoarchaeology of rural landscapes Introduction The rural landscape: concepts and environmental approaches Geoarchaeological strategies in rural contexts Case 11.1 The Ancient Greek rural landscape of Crimea Case 11.2 Xaltocan: The geoarchaeology of a complex lacustrine society before Tenochtitlan. Chapter 12 Human-environmental approaches to soils and paleosols Introduction Thematic approaches to paleosols The anthropic spectrum in soil formation Contextual levels and issues Case 12.1 Pastureland, cropland, and other past human activities in the geoarchaeological record below Brussels:
  • a look into urban dark earths Case 12.1 The understated human influence on the North America prairie soils:Tthe concept of bison paleopastures Chapter 13 The geoarchaeology of natural disasters Natural disasters in the human-environmental context Geoarchaeological approaches to natural disasters Contextual levels and issues Case 13. 1 The Xitli Volcano catastrophe and its impact on the Preclassic and Classic environmental contexts in the Basin of Mexico. Case 13 2 The geoarchaeological record of Hurricane Katrina's disaster in New Orleans Chapter 14 Environmental crises in the geoarchaeological record Environment and societal stability Environmental crises and societal collapse What do environmental crises look like in the geoarchaeological record? Case 14.1 The decline Levantine Early Bronze Age urban civilization at the end of the 3rd Millennium BC as seen in the degradation of Levantine flood plains. Case 14.2 The Dust Bowl in the (future) geoarchaeological record of the Great Plains of North America Chapter 15 Native and colonial landscapes Introduction Human-environmental interactions in the context of colonial encounters Environmental response and native and non-native legacies in the landscape Case 15.1 The Spanish colonial land system on an Aztec landscape: An example from the Basin of Mexico. Case 15.2 The transformation of the South African landscapes through colonial encounters: A proposal for researching the geoarchaeological record Chapter 16 Geoarchaeology and modern traditional societies Introduction Definition of concepts and research fields Ethnogeoarchaeology: Definition and scope Case 16.1 Modern and ancient irrigation systems in southern Mexico. Chapter 17 Geoarchaeology of the contemporary past Introduction The contemporary past defined Human-environmental relations as ongoing and continuing proceses The role of geoarchaeology in the contemporary past Case 17.1 The legacies of the Soviet period in the geoarchaeological record: The Crimean Case. Bibliography Index

Author Info

Carlos Cordova is Professor of Geography, Oklahoma State University. He obtained his PhD at the University of Texas, under the supervision of Karl Butzer. He has undertaken geoarchaeological research in the North America, Mexico, the Middle East, Southern Africa, and Crimea and the Black Sea Region and is the author of Crimea: An Environmental History (I.B.Tauris, 2016) and Millennial Landscape Change in Jordan: Geoarchaeology and Cultural Ecology (2007).

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Environmental History and Global Change

ISBN: 9781788313018
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2018
Number of Pages: 336
Height: 244
Width: 172

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