Viewing the Future in the Past is a collection of essays that represents a wide range of authors, loci, and subjects that together demonstrate the value and necessity of looking at environmental problems as a long-term process that involves humans as a causal factor. Editors H. Thomas Foster, II, Lisa M. Paciulli, and David J. Goldstein argue that it is increasingly apparent to environmental and earth sciences experts that humans have had a profound effect on the physical, climatological, and biological earth. Consequently, they suggest that understanding any aspect of the earth within the last ten thousand years means understanding the density and activities of Homo sapiens.
The essays in Viewing the Future in the Past reveal the ways in which archaeologists and anthropologists have devised methodological and theoretical tools and applied them to pre-Columbian societies in the New World and ancient sites in the Middle East. Some of the authors demonstrate how these tools can be useful in examining modern societies. The contributors provide evidence that past and present ecosystems, economies, and landscapes must be understood through the study of human activity over millennia and across the globe.
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Thomas H. Foster, II is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Tulsa. He received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and is the author of Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715-1836 and The Collected Works of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1810.
Lisa M. Paciulli, has a Ph.D. in anthropological sciences from Stony Brook University and teaches biology at North Carolina State University. She has published articles in American Journal of Primatology, Folia Primatologica, Primate Conservation, and Journal of Medical and Biological Sciences.
David J. Goldstein is the chief of interpretation and education for three National Park Service units on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is a research associate with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and a visiting lecturer at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru.