Seeking a Richer HarvestThe Archaeology of Subsistence Intensification, Innovation, and Change
Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation, Band 3
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Subsistence intensification, innovation and change have long figured prominently in explanations for the development of social complexity among foragers and horticulturalists. This set of global case studies re-examines the ‘subsistence question’ in light of recent research. It contrasts traditional approaches with recent archaeological research that presents human driven strategies for power, prestige, and status as causes of subsistence intensification.
Subsistence intensification, innovation and change have long figured prominently in explanations for the development of social complexity among foragers and horticulturalists, and the rise of chiefly societies and archaic states, yet there is considerable debate over the actual mechanisms that promote these processes. Traditional approaches to the "intensification question" emphasize population pressure, climate change, bureaucratic management, or even land degradation as prerequisites for the onset of new or changing strategies, or the construction and maintenance of agricultural landscapes. Most often these factors are modeled as external forces outside the realm of human decision-making, but recent archaeological research presents an alternative to this suggesting that subsistence intensification is the result of human driven strategies for power, prestige and status stemming from internal conditions within a group. When responding to environmental adversity, human groups were less frequently the victims, as they have been repeatedly portrayed. Instead human groups were often vigorous actors, responding with resilience, ingenuity, and planning, to flourish or survive within dynamic and sometimes unpredictable social and natural milieux.
Seeking a Richer Harvest.- Classic Period Agricultural Intensification and Domestic Life at el Palmillo, Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico.- The Wet or the Dry?.- Agricultural Intensification in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin.- Chinampa Cultivation in the Basin of Mexico.- Agricultural Intensification in the Titicaca Basin.- Animal Intensification at Neolithic Gritille.- Infields, Outfields, and Broken Lands.- Cod Fish, Walrus, and Chieftains.- Intensification and Protohistoric Agropastoral Systems in East Africa.- Rethinking Intensification.- Intensification, Innovation, and Change.
Assembled a set of global case studies that re-examine the ‘subsistence question’ in light of recent research
Contrasts traditional approaches, which emphasize population pressure and climate change, with the more recent archaeological research that presents human driven strategies for power, prestige, and status as causes of subsistence intensification
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