Historical Ecology for Applied Archaeology: Climate Change, Resource Management, and Governance

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Historical ecology is a research program concerned with the interactions of people and

environment through time and the consequences of those relationships on the formation

of contemporary and ancient landscapes, habitats and culture. Archaeology has

developed theoretical and methodological tools for contributing to historical ecological

research and constitutes a major part of this multidisciplinary effort. Through its applied

lens, historical ecology continues to grow as a major field of inquiry dealing with

questions around climate change, environmental conservation, Indigenous governance

and autonomy, and resource management systems. This session explores how

archaeologists are using the historical ecology research program to guide their research

design, praxis, and even ontologies. Such research will highlight current and on-going

archaeological contributions to climate change research, and ecological/heritage

management and conservation that is socially just.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • Ancient DNA and Historical Ecology: An Innovative Approach to Environmental Conservation (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Antonia Rodrigues. Chelsey Geralda Armstrong.

    It is now generally accepted that humans are the primary drivers of environmental change; virtually no ecosystem has escaped our influence. With increasing awareness of the impact of humanity on the biosphere, researchers have begun to focus on understanding, protecting and perpetuating biological diversity at all scales and levels of biological organization. One of the best ways to understand current and future anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity is by studying their effects in the past....

  • Can archaeology provide an evidence base for Realistic Disaster Scenarios that contribute to reducing vulnerability? (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Felix Riede. Russel Blong.

    Extreme climatic events and natural disasters often have a recurrence periodicity beyond that of ethnographic, sociological and, at times, even historical investigation. In a deep historical perspective focused on geo-cultural heritage, however, human communities have been affected by numerous kinds of natural disasters that may provide useful data for scenario-based risk reduction management vis-à-vis future calamities. Using selected past volcanic eruptions as examples and merging Lee Clarke’s...

  • Clam Gardens: Ancient and Living Landscapes in the Salish Sea (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nicole Smith. Skye Augustine. Dana Lepofsky. Christina Neudorf. Keith Holmes.

    Clam gardens are rock-walled, intertidal terraces constructed by the coastal First Nations of British Columbia (Canada) and Native Americans of Washington State and Alaska (USA) to enhance the shellfish productivity of beaches and rocky shorelines. This presentation highlights recent work in the Salish Sea by members and partners of the "Clam Garden Network", a community of First Nations, academics, researchers, and resource managers interested in the cultural and ecological importance of clam...

  • Cultural Forests in Cross Section: The Exposure and Destruction of CMT Chronologies on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jacob Earnshaw.

    Culturally Modified Trees (CMTs) bearing the scars of First Nation’s resource use are ubiquitous in British Columbia’s old growth forests, yet remain one of the most endangered archaeological site types due to industrial logging. The majority of CMTs are bark strip features with precise spatial, temporal, and harvesting pattern data that, when viewed on a landscape level, have great informative value related to forest use. However, CMT use in archaeological studies has been infrequent, small...

  • Did Tlingit and Haida eat sea otters during the pre-contact period? an issue of intellectual property and cultural heritage (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Madonna Moss.

    In recent years, zooarchaeological studies have been designed to address a variety of issues in conservation biology, but rarely has zooarchaeology been used to document cultural practices that are currently under public scrutiny. Use of sea otters is part of Tlingit and Haida cultural heritage. Conducted with Sealaska Heritage Institute, this project attempts to show how laboratory analysis of archaeological collections can document butchery and processing practices that have direct...

  • Grassroots modernization: pastoral economies, climate, and political change in Iceland's 18th though 20th centuries (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Megan Hicks. Viðar Hreinsson. Árni Daniel Júliússon. Astrid Ogilvie. Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir.

    The intersecting tensions among Iceland's hay cultivation, livestock productivity, and climate have a long history and a significant influence on both political discourse and local knowledge production. In the 18th century, Iceland was assessed by its Danish colonial government as being a marginally productive region in terms of its significant rural surpluses. Even in spite of producing some surplus, the country struggled with periodic famines until the late 19th century. These events and...

  • The Historical Ecology of Laxgalts'ap – a Cultural Keystone Place of the Gitga’ata of Northern British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Spencer Greening. Dana Lepofsky. Mark Wunsch. Nancy Turner.

    For many Indigenous Peoples, their traditional lands are archives of their histories, from the deepest of time to recent memories and actions. These histories are written in the landscapes’ geological features, the plant and animal communities, and associated archaeological and paleoecological records. Some of these landscapes, recently termed "Cultural Keystone Places" (CKPs), are iconic for these groups and have become symbols of the connections between the past and the future, and between...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Richard Chia.

    When the Tiv, a Bantu language speaking group migrated into the Benue Valley of Nigeria from southwestern Cameroon over five hundred years ago, they faced hostilities from different groups in the valley. Hilltops readily served as important settlement locales to protect the Tiv from violence and conflict. As they migrated from one hilltop to another they eventually settled over much of the Middle Benue Valley. Archaeological research in the valley has investigated these ancient hilltop sites...

  • Icelandic Livestock and Landscapes: Biometrical Signatures of Land Surface Change (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Gibbons.

    Zooarchaeologists have typically employed faunal biometric data to address questions of domestication, breeding and improvement strategies, animal population demographics, market economies, and the movement of livestock. However, an historical ecology approach to biometrics also suggests the utility of investigating relationships between livestock management strategies and landscape change. Building on over twenty years’ worth of standardized zooarchaeological datasets from across the North...

  • The Maritime Fur Trade before the Maritime Fur Trade on the Pacific Coast of North America (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Iain McKechnie.

    The maritime fur trade on the Northwest Coast of North America (ca. AD 1778-1850) was a historically consequential process that unfolded throughout the Indigenous territories of the Pacific Coast. Tens of thousands of astronomically valuable sea otter pelts were traded by Indigenous chiefs with visiting ship captains, who then transported these pelts across the Pacific and sent profits home. The massive wealth generated by this colonial trade encircled the globe but also amplified existing...

  • Mountain Top to Ocean Floor: The Eco-cultural History of Hauyat (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Julia Jackley. Dana Lepofsky. Nancy J. Turner. Jennifer Carpenter.

    The Mountain Top to Ocean Floor Project is a collaborative undertaking by the Heiltsuk First Nation, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria that seeks to document and explore the unique cultural and ecological history of Hauyat, a landscape in Heiltsuk traditional territory on the Central Coast of British Columbia. Over millennia, Hauyat has been transformed by a complex web of relationships among people, plants, animals and ecosystems. The rich and deep history of this place is...

  • Radiocarbon dating uncertainty constrains our ability to identify cyclical human-environment dynamics (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Carleton. Mark Collard. Dave Campbell.

    Archaeologists have long been interested in cyclical human-environment dynamics. This interest is indicated by the dozens of published studies that refer to "adaptive cycles" and by the fact that one of the highest cited papers in the history of archaeology focuses on the impact of cyclical drought on the Classic Maya. Unfortunately, recent work suggests that identifying cycles in archaeological and palaeoclimatological time series data can be challenging when the observations are dated with...

  • Relatives of the Deep: Situated Knowledge and Archaeological Remote Sensing to Assess Climate Change Vulnerability at Tl’ches (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Darcy Mathews. Joan Morris. Reona Oda.

    Sellemah/Joan Morris, a Coast Salish Nation elder, was raised at Tl’ches, an archipelago of low islands in the Salish Sea of southwestern British Columbia. Islands are familial places in the Coast Salish world, the word translating to "relatives or ancestors of the deep." Ongoing archaeological and ethnoecological research indicates this island ecosystem was shaped by millennia of resource management and subsistence practices. In 1957, a drinking water shortage forced residents to move to...

  • Unique Ecologies of British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Chelsey Geralda Armstrong. Dana Lepofsky. Leslie Main Johnson. Nancy Turner.

    It is widely understood that humans have varying degrees of influence on a wide range of ecological patterns and processes. In British Columbia an array of landscape management practices have been documented among Indigenous communities resulting in novel ecosystems. Yet, little is known about the range and extent of these eco-human dynamics in pre-settler colonial contexts. We explore the concept of "unique ecologies" as a way of better understanding the untold past of ecological and cultural...