A climatic imperative? Testing the connection between climate and crop adoption in the Indus and the Hexi corridor
Why might societies adopt new crops or change their cropping patterns? Climate change is one of several possible drivers, but its role in crop exchange has rarely been empirically tested and its importance relative to other factors, particularly cultural factors, remains controversial.
As part of the Food Globalisation in Prehistory project, two isotopic studies have aimed to directly test the relationship between climate change and crop movement in particular contexts. One focuses on the Hexi Corridor, which is one of the main routes by which crops may have travelled between China and Central Asia. The other focuses on the Indus region in northern South Asia, where climate change has been invoked in both the spread of African, Eurasian and indigenous millets, and the decline of the Indus Civilisation.
In both cases, we have aimed to generate focused, archaeologically-relevant climatic data which have the capacity to provide a robust empirical foundation for testing the relationship between climate change and crop movement. In so doing, we hope not only to further our understanding of the possible role of climate in these two key locations, but to demonstrate new approaches and techniques with the potential for much broader application.
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A climatic imperative? Testing the connection between climate and crop adoption in the Indus and the Hexi corridor. Penny Jones, Emma Lightfoot, Martin Jones, Tamsin O'Connell, Cameron Petrie. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395874)
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