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date: 16 June 2019

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.

Keywords: cultural ecology, political ecology, historical ecology, socioecological dynamics, anthrosols, neotropics, environmental change

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