416 pages, illus, maps
Popularist treatments of ancient disasters like volcanic eruptions have grossly overstated their capacity for death, destruction, and societal collapse. Contributors to this volume - from anthropology, archaeology, environmental studies, geology, and biology - show that human societies have been incredibly resilient and, in the long run, have often recovered remarkably well from wide scale disruption and significant mortality. They have often used eruptions as a trigger for environmental enrichment, cultural change, and adaptation.
These historical studies are relevant to modern hazard management because they provide records for a far wider range of events and responses than have been recorded in written records, yet are often closely datable and trackable using standard archaeological and geological techniques. Contributors also show the importance of traditional knowledge systems in creating a cultural memory of dangerous locations and community responses to disaster.
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