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The purpose of Case Studies in Environmental Archaeology is to highlight studies addressing significant anthropological issues in the Americas from the perspective of environmental archaeology. Environmental archaeology encompasses the application of biological and geological techniques to the study of human/environmental interactions. Each chapter is an original or revised work by internationally-recognized geoarchaeologists, human biologists, paleoethnobotanists, and zooarchaeologists. Each study demonstrates how and why the information obtained using environmental techniques is important to anthropologists instead of describing, critiquing, or advocating a method. These ethnographic, geological, and biological case studies successfully demonstrate the application of environmental science toward the resolution of questions related to human behavior in the past.
This second edition is based on the 1996 book of the same title. The editors have invited back a number of contributors from the first edition to revise and update their chapter. They also have included new studies in order to cover recent developments in the field or additional pertinent topics. It also includes a separate index listing the scientific and vernacular names of plants and animals referenced in Case Studies in Environmental Archaeology.
These case studies present examples from sites in North America, the Caribbean, and South America. Some of the key topics addressed in this unique volume include:
- Systemic relationships between people and the physical environments and paleoenvironments in which they live
- Relationships among landscapes, resource use, residential patterns, and political alliances
- Issues involving human nutrition, health, mobility, sedentism, plant and animal domestication, diet, and trade
- Subsistence strategies and resource availability
- Intra-community social relations, rural/urban relationships, ethnic identity, and the development of social complexity