- New Paths into the Anthropocene: Applying Historical Ecologies to the Human Future
- Thinking Like An Archaeologist and Thinking Like an Engineer: A Utilitarian-Perspective Archaeology
- Expedience, Impermanence, and Unplanned Obsolescence: The Coming-About of Agricultural Features and Landscapes
- Just How Long Does ‘Long-Term’ Have to Be? Matters of Temporal Scale as Impediments to Interdisciplinary Understanding in Historical Ecology
- Archaeology, Historical Sciences, and Environmental Conservation
- Landscaping, Landscape Legacies, and Landesque Capital in Pre-Columbian Amazonia
- Integrating Geoarchaeology with Archaeology for Interdisciplinary Understanding of Societal–Environmental Relations
- Digging for Indigenous Knowledge: ‘Reverse Engineering’ and Stratigraphic Sequencing as a Potential Archaeological Contribution to Sustainability Assessments
- Linking the Past and Present of the Ancient Maya: Lowland Land Use, Population Distribution, and Density in the Late Classic Period
- Paleozoology Is Valuable to Conservation Biology
- Historic Molecules Connect the Past to Modern Conservation
- Community and Conservation: Documenting Millennial Scale Sustainable Resource Use at Lake Mývatn, Iceland
- Soils, Plants, and Texts: An Archaeologist’s Tool-Box
- Grappling with Interpreting and Testing People–Landscape Dynamics
- From Narratives to Algorithms: Extending Archaeological Explanation beyond Archaeology
- Growing the Ancient Maya Social-Ecological System from the Bottom Up
- Wells, Land, and History: Archaeology and Rural Development in Southern Africa
- Participatory Checking and the Temporality of Landscapes: Increasing Trust and Relevance in Qualitative Research
- Freelisting as a Tool for Assessing Cognitive Realities of Landscape Transformation: A Case Study from Amazonia
- A 1980 Attempt at Reviving Ancient Irrigation Practices in the Pacific: Rationale, Failure, and Success
- The Invisible Landscape: The Etruscan <i>Cuniculi</i> of Tuscania as a Determinant of Present-Day Landscape and a Valuable Tool for Sustainable Water Management
- The Rehabilitation of Pre-Hispanic Agricultural Infrastructure to Support Rural Development in the Peruvian Andes: The Work of the Cusichaca Trust
- Applied Archaeology in the Americas: Evaluating Archaeological Solutions to the Impacts of Global Environmental Change
- Indigenous Technologies, Archaeology, and Rural Development in the Andes: Three Decades of Trials in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru
- Quality of Life and Prosperity in Ancient Households and Communities
- Applied Perspectives on Pre-Columbian Maya Water Management Systems: What are the Insights for Water Security?
- Beyond Rhetoric: Towards a Framework for an Applied Historical Ecology of Urban Planning
- Culture, Power, History: Implications for Understanding Global Environmental Change
- Energy Gain and the Evolution of Organization
- Conclusion: Anthropocentric Historical Ecology, Applied Archaeology, and the Future of a Usable Past
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter outlines innovative research directions for an archaeology of global environmental change. It is argued that by triangulating environmental challenges along the axes of culture, power, and history, archaeologists can contribute key evidence about socioecological dynamics that is required for understanding where human societies stand relative to larger cycles. By surveying recent articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), some of the various ways in which archaeologists have contributed to addressing global change problems are explored. The survey reveals that archaeologists are increasingly working as part of interdisciplinary teams to integrate long-term human–environmental data into contemporary ecological modelling efforts by drawing on the related fields of cultural ecology, political ecology, and historical ecology. The chapter also provides an example of this kind of research using a case study that considers Neotropical anthrosols and fire ecology in swidden agroecosystems.
E. Christian Wells is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Centre for Brownfields Research and Redevelopment at the University of South Florida, where he has served as Founding Director of the Office of Sustainability and Deputy Director of the Patel College of Global Sustainability. He is an applied environmental anthropologist, whose research integrates cultural, historical, and archaeological data to examine how environmental legacies are created and the consequences of these processes for socioecological trajectories. He recently received the Black Bear Award from the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay in recognition of outstanding dedication to sustainability and the environment.
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