360 pages, b/w illustrations
How humans adapt to life in an area prone to natural disasters is an intriguing study for the social sciences. In Archaeology, Volcanism, and Remote Sensing in the Arenal Region, Costa Rica, experts from several disciplines explore the adaptation process of prehistoric societies in the volcanic Arenal region of Costa Rica from about 2000 BC to the Spanish Conquest at about AD 1500.
The data in Archaeology, Volcanism, and Remote Sensing in the Arenal Region, Costa Rica come from a survey of the region conducted with the latest remote sensing technology. Sheets and his coauthors have compiled a detailed record of human settlements in the area, including dozens of archaeological sites and a network of prehistoric footpaths that reveals patterns of travel and communication across the region. The Arenal peoples prospered in their precarious environment apparently by taking advantage of food and lithic resources, keeping population levels low, and avoiding environmental degradation. These findings will interest a wide interdisciplinary audience in anthropology and archaeology, earth sciences, technology, geography, and human ecology.
"This book breaks new ground in its detailed study of how prehistoric populations in the Arenal region of Costa Rica adapted to living in an area that experienced many volcanic eruptions during the past several millennia."
– Environmental History
"This is an outstanding, very important and, in many ways, fascinating examination of a poorly understood era and region of the Americas."
– Paul F. Healy, professor of anthropology, Trent University, Ontario, Canada
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Payson Sheets is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Brian R. McKee received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona.