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Big Data, Human Adaptation, and Historical Archaeology: Confronting Old Problems with New Solutions

Author(s): Jeffrey Altschul

Year: 2016

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Summary

How humans respond to climate change has been identified as one of archaeology's grand challenges. Traditionally, archaeologists correlate local or regional environmental reconstructions with human settlement to form post hoc inferences about adaptive and social responses to changes in climate and associated environmental resources. Regardless the logical strength of these explanations, rarely can they be generalized beyond the case study. To offer general statements about human adaptation to short- and long-term changes in climate requires a shift from case studies to comparative analysis. Recent advances in cyberinfrastructure has led to approaches that can accomodate much larger data sets than previously possible. These advances combined with vast data sets, accumulated primarily through heritage studies, provide technical ways forward from regional to synthetic research. How historical data can be incorporated in a "big" data approach to human adaptation is explored in this presentation. 


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Big Data, Human Adaptation, and Historical Archaeology: Confronting Old Problems with New Solutions. Jeffrey Altschul. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 435009)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 518

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America