Scientific Archaeology 2021

November 13, 2021

The Science in Archaeology 2 course, run as part of the minor in “Archaeology Today” by the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA), is currently underway. This year I have again contributed to this course with a weeks worth of activity related to detecting past human impacts. During this week we have focused on what sorts of evidence contained within the sedimentary record can be used to track human actions. We focused in particular on the manipulation of fire regimes and the the abundance of animals in landscapes (i.e. extinctions vs. introductions of domestic species). To illustrate how past human activities can be detected in landscapes I tapped into some recent publications I have been involved with (eastern Andean flank, Samoa and Mauritius) and the students selected papers in line with their own focus to discuss. Here is what they came up with…

Azuara, J., Combourieu-Nebout, N., Lebreton, V., Mazier, F., Müller, S.D. & Dezileau, L. (2015) Late Holocene vegetation changes in relation with climate fluctuations and human activity in Languedoc (southern France). Climate of the Past 11, 1769-1784. doi:10.5194/cp-11-1769-2015

Erlandson, J.M. & Rick, T.C. (2010) Archaeology meets marine ecology: the antiquity of maritime cultures and human impacts on marine fisheries and ecosystems. Annual Review of Marine Science 2, 231-251. doi: 10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163749

Field, M.H., Ntinou, M., Tsartsidou, G., van Berge Henegouwen, D., Risberg, J., Tourloukis, V., Thompson, N., Karkanas, P., Panagopoulou, E. & Harvati, K. (2018) A palaeoenvironmental reconstruction (based on palaeobotanical data and diatoms) of the Middle Pleistocene elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) butchery site at Marathousa, Megalopolis, Greece. Quaternary International 497, 108-122. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2018.06.014

Kim, J. & Rejmánková, E. (2001) The paleoecological record of human disturbance in wetlands of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Journal of Paleolimnology 25, 437-454. doi: 10.1023/A:1011176018331

Kramer, A., Bittmann, F. & Nösler, D. (2014) New insights into vegetation dynamics and settlement history in Hümmling, north-western Germany, with particular reference to the Neolithic. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 23, 461-478. doi: 10.1007/s00334-013-0409-z

Sluyter, A. (2021) Reconstruction of anthropogenic land-cover change for Middle America, 1500 CE. Advances in Environmental and Engineering Research 2, 1. doi:10.21926/aeer.2103020

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