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The Galápagos Islands are one of the world's premiere nature attractions, home to unique ecosystems widely thought to be untouched and pristine. Historical Ecology and Archaeology in the Galápagos Islands reveals that the archipelago is not as isolated as many imagine, examining how centuries of human occupation have transformed its landscape.
This book shows that the island chain has been a part of global networks since its discovery in 1535 and traces the changes caused by human colonization. Central to this history is the sugar plantation Hacienda El Progreso on San Cristóbal Island. Here, zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical evidence documents the introduction of exotic species and landscape transformations, and material evidence attests that inhabitants maintained connections to the outside world for consumer goods.
Beyond illuminating the human history of the islands, the authors also look at the impact of visitors to Galápagos National Park today, raising questions about tourism's role in biological conservation, preservation, and restoration.
Peter W. Stahl is professor emeritus of anthropology at Binghamton University and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria. Fernando Astudillo is assistant professor of archaeology at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Ross W. Jamieson, associate professor of archaeology at Simon Fraser University, is the author of Domestic Architecture and Power: The Historical Archaeology of Colonial Ecuador. Diego Quiroga is vice president of research at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and co-director of the Galápagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences. He is the coeditor of Darwin, Darwinism and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands: The Legacy of Darwin and its New Applications. Florencio Delgado is professor of anthropology and director of CIS at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
"Highly original. A major contribution to the human history and cultural ecology of the Galápagos Islands. The authors have woven together topics as diverse as global economics, historical archaeology, and biodiversity in their study of one of the world's most intellectually stimulating archipelagos."
– David Steadman, Florida Museum of Natural History
"This superb work adds a significant dimension to our understanding of what are sometimes deemed to be pristine domains of nature. In the history and archaeology of the Galápagos Islands as expounded in rich detail in these pages, the authors make a persuasive case for reexamining what exactly one seeks to conserve in human-modified landscapes."
– William Balée, author of Cultural Forests of the Amazon: A Historical Ecology of People and Their Landscapes