- 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 Cuniculi 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
Archaeological data can be represented in quantitative models to test theories of societal growth, development, and resilience. This chapter describes the results of simulations employing integrated agent-based, cellular automata, and network models to represent elements of the ancient Maya social-ecological system. The purpose of the model is to better understand the complex dynamics of the Maya civilization and to test quantitative indicators of resilience as predictors of system sustainability or decline. The model examines the relationship between population growth, agricultural production, pressure on ecosystem services, forest succession, value of trade, and the stability of trade networks. These combine to allow agents representing Maya settlements to develop and expand within a landscape that changes under climate variation and responds to anthropogenic pressure. The model is able to reproduce spatial patterns and timelines somewhat analogous to that of the ancient Maya, although this model requires refinement and further archaeological data for calibration.
Scott Heckbert is Chief Environmental Scientist at the Alberta Energy Regulator, Canada, focusing on integrated environmental modelling for planning and regulation of energy sector activities. Scott is formerly Senior Researcher with Alberta Innovates, and worked at CSIRO Australia as an environmental economist. Scott develops simulation models estimating environmental indicators to advise decision makers and stakeholders. Research is focused on energy sector development modelling related to landscape ecology and hydrology. Scott uses 3D technology to build interactive virtual laboratories where scientists, decision makers, and stakeholder interact with simulation models for improved understanding of complex human-environment systems.
Christian Isendahl (Ph.D., Uppsala University, 2002) is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He is interested in issues of sustainability, vulnerability, and resilience and applies a historical ecological lens to study urbanism, farming systems, water management, and socio-political organization in the past, particularly in the Maya lowlands, the Andes, and the Amazon. He has a strong interest in exploring, discussing, and detailing how archaeological research can generate knowledge about the past and about long-term processes that provide practical insights for addressing contemporary challenges. He is a member of the scientific steering committee of the ‘Integrated History and Future of People on Earth’ (IHOPE) project.
Joel D. Gunn is an environmental anthropologist who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research engages issues such as complex adaptive systems and the origins, rise and demise of civilizations, and settlement patterns. Although currently focused on the Maya lowlands, Joel’s studies span the continental land masses that fall under the climatic influence of the Bermuda–Azores subtropical high: the Maya lowlands, southeastern United States, and southwestern Europe.
Simon Brewer is an ecologist and paleoecologist at the Department of Geography, University of Utah. He studies global patterns of terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change through the analysis of datasets covering broad temporal and spatial scales, and by comparison with global scale climate and ecological process models. He utilizes large-array data sets to build, modify, and test mechanistic and statistical models, with the goal of improving our interpretation of natural- and anthropogenic driven environmental change. He is involved in collaborative efforts to integrate these approaches with archaeological studies of human societal development, with a particular interest to place ecosystem responses in this framework.
Vernon L. Scarborough is Distinguished University Research Professor and Charles Phelps Taft Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Cincinnati. His work emphasizes sustainability and global water systems. By examining past engineered landscapes, he addresses both ancient and contemporary societal issues from a comparative ecological and transdisciplinary perspective. Geographically, his published work includes studies about the U.S. Southwest, Belize, Guatemala, Indonesia, Greece, Pakistan, and Sudan. He has published nine books—including seven edited volumes (one more in press)—and over 100 book chapters and journal articles, the latter inclusive of Science, PNAS, and American Antiquity. His most recent field work is at Tikal, Guatemala and Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
Arlen F. Chase is a Maya archaeologist and Co-Director of the Caracol Archaeological Project in Belize, Central America, which concluded its 33rd field season in 2017; he is currently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was formerly a Pegasus Professor of Anthropology and an Associate Dean in the College of Sciences at the University of Central Florida. He is a Fellow in the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and specializes in contextual, settlement, and ceramic analysis with secondary interests in urbanism, ethnicity, epigraphic interpretation, and remote sensing. Many of his research results and publications may be found at http://www.caracol.org.
Diane Z. Chase is the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a Maya archaeologist and Co-Director of the Caracol Archaeological Project in Belize, Central America, which carried out its 33rd field season in 2017; she is also a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was formerly a Pegasus Professor of Anthropology and Vice Provost at the University of Central Florida. She is a Fellow in the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and specializes in the methodological and theoretical implications of the rise and fall of complex societies as well as on mortuary archaeology. Many of her research results and publications may be found at http://www.caracol.org.
Robert Costanza is a Professor and Chair in Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. His transdisciplinary research integrates the study of humans and the rest of nature to address research, policy, and management issues at multiple time and space scales, from small watersheds to the global system. His specialties include systems ecology, ecological economics, landscape ecology, ecological modelling, ecological design, energy analysis, environmental policy, social traps, incentive structures, and institutions. He is cofounder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics, past-chief editor of the journal Ecological Economics, and the author or co-author of over 500 scientific papers and 27 books.
Nicholas P. Dunning is a Professor of Geography at the University of Cincinnati. He is a geoarchaeologist and cultural ecologist specializing in the Neotropics. He has published several books and more than 120 articles and book chapters.
Timothy Beach is Professor and Centennial Chair in Geography & Environment at the University of Texas at Austin since 2014, after twenty-one years at Georgetown University, where he held the Cinco Hermanos Chair and directed two Environmental Programs. He has studied soils, geomorphology, paleoecology, and geoarchaeology in ten nations, especially in the Maya and Mediterranean worlds. These field seasons led to hundreds of peer reviewed publications and scientific presentations. He is an AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Fellow, a Guggenheim and Dumbarton Oaks Fellow, G.K. Gilbert Awardee in Geomorphology (with one co-author), Carl Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Awardee, and received Georgetown University’s Distinguished Research Award (2010) and the School of Foreign Service’s Faculty of the Year Award (2014).
Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. Her Ph.D. is in Geography from the University of Minnesota. Sheryl’s research applies spatial statistics and geochemistry to groundwater monitoring, characterization, and mapping for water quality and hydrology. Her current research focuses on ancient land and water use in the Maya Lowlands of Central America, and on reconstructing past environments. She is currently the Vice President of the American Association of Geographers and a member of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration.
David Lentz is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the UC Center for Field Studies. His area of research focuses on the evolution of plant domesticates and food production systems, the human impact on natural landscapes, and the paleoecological aspects of climate change. He is a Fellow of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and a former Fulbright Scholar. He has published three books and over 110 articles and book chapters.
Paul Sinclair is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University. He has conducted archaeological research throughout Africa and the western Indian Ocean for 50 years focussing on spatial complexity, urbanism, and environmental change in the Anthropocene. He has directed the Urban Origins in Eastern Africa, Human Responses and Contributions to Environmental Change in East Africa and Sri Lanka, and The Urban Mind multi-disciplinary research programmes. He has supervised more than 40 doctoral candidates. He serves as co-Chair of the executive committee of the Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE) Core project of the Future Earth consortium and is Executive Director of the Royal Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Uppsala.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.