NPS MWAC/Erin Dempsey
The Current River valley has been home to humans for most of the last 12,000 years. Dynamic environmental change during that time period has affected the preservation of archeological sites.
Archeologists have a distinct role to play in climate change research, especially in the context of how humans respond to situations of dynamic climate. Archeology pursues information about past human activity as it is reflected in the deposits people left behind and seeks data from a longer history (or deeper past) than other cultural disciplines, such as history or sociology.
Archeologists are also interested in learning about changes in human activities through time and often posit climate change as an explanation for why these changes occurred. In order to test such explanations, archeologists rely upon (and often collect) paleoenvironmental data, which are critical to the study of human behavior within the context of a dynamic physical environment. By collecting these types of data, archeologists are well positioned to ask and answer questions concerning human-landscape interactions, particularly during periods of climate change.
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This page updated:
13 January 2014
Suggested citation for this article:
Dempsey, E. C., and D. Bringelson. 2013. Archeological contributions to climate change studies: Past, present, and future. Park Science 30(2):16–18.
Available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/archive/PDF/Article_PDFs/ParkScience30(2)Fall2013_16-18_DempseyBringelson_3660.pdf.
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