Applied Archaeology in the Americas: Evaluating Archaeological Solutions to the Impacts of Global Environmental Change
Jago Cooper and Lindsay Duncan
This chapter considers the role of archaeology in creating solutions for coping with the impacts of global environmental change, illustrated by cases from Latin America. Past examples of the practical application of pre-Columbian innovations and techniques are considered, and the key themes of social practice and community engagement discussed. These principles are then applied to the islands of the Caribbean where archaeology can play an important role in accessing and illuminating pre-Columbian lifeways in the region. The comparative resilience of past and present lifeways to the hazards created by extreme weather events, precipitation variability, and sea level changes are discussed, and the role of archaeology as a means of engaging the public, stimulating discussion, and informing debate is considered.
Paul Sinclair, Christian Isendahl, and Stephan Barthel
Historical ecological approaches to settlement aggregation and complexity reject modernist and post-modernist reliance on linear neo-evolutionary categorization of cities in relation to earlier farming communities. Instead, urban centres and multi-urban systems are viewed as components of complex heterarchically and hierarchically organized landscapes. Resilience theory has been applied in several archaeological efforts to characterize urban development of specific centres. Building on experience from the recently concluded Urban Mind project this chapter argues for a historical ecology approach to track the long-term cultural and environmental dynamics of multi-centred urban systems. Linking human cognition, social memory, ecosystem services, urban metabolism and food security, and institutions of urban governance, it uses data on long-term urban histories in the eastern Mediterranean, southern Africa, and Mesoamerica to identify implications for future urban planning initiatives.