Books  Palaeontology & Geology  Geology  Volcanology 

Living Under the Shadow: Cultural Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions

Edited By: Robin Torrence and John Grattan

416 pages, illus, maps

Left Coast Press

Hardback | Jan 2008 | #184286 | ISBN-13: 9781598742688
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NHBS Price: £70.50 $92/€80 approx
Paperback | May 2010 | #184287 | ISBN-13: 9781598742695
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NHBS Price: £26.95 $35/€31 approx

About this book

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.


1. Beyond Doom and Gloom: The Long Term Consequences of Volcanic Disasters2. The Campanian Ignimbrite Factor: Towards a Reappraisal of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic "Transition" 3. Gradual vs. Punctuated Change in Catastrophic Environments: Willaumez Peninsula, Papua New Guinea4. Human Resilience to Most Volcanic Eruptions in the Zapotitan Valley, El Salvador5. Paleoindians and Megafaunal Extinction in the Basin of Mexico: The Role of the 10.5 k Upper Toluca Pumice Eruption6. Living with the Volcano: The 11th Century A.D. Eruption of Sunset Crater7. Ecological Roadblocks on a Constrained Landscape: The Cultural Effects of Catastrophic Holocene Volcanism on the Alaska Peninsula, Southwest Alaska8. The Long Shadow: Understanding the Influence of the Laki Fissure Eruption on Human Mortality in Europe9. Volcanic Oral Traditions in Hazard Assessment and Mitigation10. Geomythology, Theodicy and the Continuing Relevance of Religious Worldviews on Responses to Volcanic Eruptions 11. Planning for the Future: A Mulitidisciplinary Approach to Reconstructing the Buag Episode of Mt Pinatubo, Philippines12. Archaeology of Fire and Glass: The Formation of Glass Mountain13. The Conceptual "Mapping" of a Volcano in its Social Landscape: Volcan Baru, Panama

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John Grattan is a Reader in the Institute of Geology and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Robin Torrence is Principle Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology, Australian Museum, Sydney.

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