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This book contains case histories intended to show how societies and landscapes interact. The range of interest stretches from the small groups of the earliest Neolithic, through Bronze and Iron Age civilizations, to modern nation states. The coexistence is, of its very nature reciprocal, resulting in changes in both society and landscape. In some instances the adaptations may be judged successful in terms of human needs, but failure is common and even the successful cases are ephemeral when judged in the light of history.
Comparisons and contrasts between the various cases can be made at various scales from global through inter-regional, to regional and smaller scales. At the global scale, all societies deal with major problems of climate change, sea-level rise, and with ubiquitous problems such as soil erosion and landscape degradation. Inter-regional differences bring out significant detail with one region suffering from drought when another suffers from widespread flooding. For example, desertification in North Africa and the Near East contrasts with the temperate countries of southern Europe where the landscape-effects of deforestation are more obvious.
China and Japan offer an interesting comparison from the standpoint of geological hazards to society - large, unpredictable and massively erosive rivers in the former case, volcanoes and accompanying earthquakes in the latter. Within the North African region localized climatic changes led to abandonment of some desertified areas with successful adjustments in others, with the ultimate evolution into the formative civilization of Egypt, the "Gift of the Nile".
At a smaller scale it is instructive to compare the city-states of the Medieval and early Renaissance times that developed in the watershed of a single river, the Arno in Tuscany, and how Pisa, Siena and Florence developed and reached their golden periods at different times depending on their location with regard to proximity to the sea, to the main trunk of the river, or in the adjacent hills.
PrefaceList of contributorsList of reviewersPart I. Introduction1. Summaries of the contributions and a few considerations; I. Peter Martini and Ward Chesworth2. A semantic introduction; Ward Chesworth3. Womb, belly and landscape in the Anthropocene; Ward ChesworthPart II. The Mediterranean and European world-arid Mediterranean lands4. Human responses to climatically-driven landscape change and resource scarcity: Learning from the past and planning for the future; Nickolas Brooks5. Human communities in a drying landscape: Holocene climate change and cultural response in the central Sahara; Mauro Cremaschi and Andrea Zerboni6. The desertification of the Egyptian Sahara during the Holocene (the last 10,000 years) and its influence on the rise of Egyptian civilization; Michael Brookfield7. Paleoenvironments and prehistory in the Holocene of SE Arabia; Andrew S. Goudie and Adrian G. Parker8. Human paleoecology in the ancient metal-smelting and farming complex in the Wadi Faynan, SW Jordan, at the desert margin in the Middle East; Chris Hunt and Hwedi el-Rishi9. Empire and Environment in the Northern Fertile Crescent; Tony J. WilkinsonPart III. The Mediterranean and European world warm-temperate Mediterranean lands10. The interplay between environment and people from Neolithic to classical times in Greece and Albania; Eric Fouache and Kosmas Pavlopoulos11. The Nuragic people: Their settlements, economic activities and use of the land, Sardinia, Italy; Anna Depalmas and Rita T. Melis12. Floods, mudflows, landslides: adaptation of Etruscan--Roman communities to hydrogeological hazards in the Arno River catchment (Tuscany, Central Italy); Marco Benvenuti et al13. Landscape influences on the development of the Medieval--Early Renaissance city-states of Pisa, Florence, and Siena, Italy; I. Peter Martini et al14. Paleo-hazards in the coastal Mediterranean: a geoarchaeological approach; Christophe Morhange and Nick Marriner15. Mount Etna, Sicily: Landscape evolution and hazard responses in the pre-industrial era; David K. Chester, Angus M. Duncan and Peter A. JamesPart IV. The Mediterranean and European world cool-temperate European lands 16. Romanian Carpathian landscapes and cultures; Adrian CioacAE and Mihaela S. Dinu17. Sea-level rise and the response of the Dutch people -- Adaptive strategies based on geomorphologic principles give sustainable solutions; Pieter D. Jungerius18. Perception of volcanic eruptions in Iceland; Thorvaldur ThordarsonPart V South and East Asia19. Holocene environmental changes and the evolution of the Neolithic cultures in China; Duowen Mo et al.20. Landscape and subsistence in Japanese history; Gina L. Barnes21. Evolution of hydraulic societies in the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom of Sri Lanka; P.B. Dharmasena22. Disease in history: the case of the Austronesian expansion in the Pacific; Robert SallaresPart VI. Central and North America23. Farms and forests: Spatial and temporal perspectives on ancient Maya landscapes; Nicholas P. Dunning and Timothy Beach24. Water follows the people: Analysis of water use in the Western Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA; Ellen Wohl25. Frozen coasts and the development of Inuit culture in the North American Arctic; Robert W. ParkGlossaryIndexColor Plate Section