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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how human and natural dynamics of landscape change may be portrayed and tested using both geoarchaeological and GIS-based modelling approaches. Comprehensive sets of well-dated and spatially related archaeological, geoarchaeological, and palaeoenvironmental data are essential prerequisites. In addition to providing visualizations of possible realities, geoarchaeological investigations can ground-truth GIS-based landscape–human interaction models. Together these techniques can both help visualize and interrogate many possible scenarios of change, and allow consideration of other cause–effect relationships of landscape change. More detailed understandings of long-term human and potential future impacts on landscapes should be achievable, especially when coupled with precise environmental and climatic data. Nonetheless, modelling is no substitute for good sequences of palaeoenvironmental data in well understood, culturally shaped landscapes, but it is a valuable tool for aiding interpretation. A number of examples of this kind of application from around the world are presented.

Keywords: geoarchaeology, palaeoenvironment, human–environment interaction, GIS-based modelling, soil erosion, desertification, landscape change, environmental reconstruction

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