Convergence Research and the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis

Author(s): Keith Kintigh; Jeffrey Altschul

Year: 2018


Archaeological forays into the climate change debate have generally been through case studies that integrate archaeological, anthropological, and paleoenvironmental data into coherent, evidence-based narratives that document how cultural systems in a relatively small geographic region adapted to long-term climatic change. While these cautionary tales can play a valuable role in galvanizing public opinion, they generally have not influenced public policy. What is lacking are scalable inferences relating long-term cultural resilience and sustainability to social configurations and strategies for addressing environmental dynamics. Achieving these inferences demands that we move beyond case studies and leverage the vast amount of archaeological data captured in heritage studies in what the National Science Foundation has characterized as convergence research, "the deep integration of knowledge, techniques, and expertise from multiple fields to form new and expanded frameworks for addressing scientific and societal challenges and opportunities." The Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis was formed to foster and support precisely this type of collaborative synthetic research. This paper describes how, through such research, the Coalition has the potential to transform archaeological practice and to allow our results to be incorporated in public debates and policy initiatives on subjects such as climate change.

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Convergence Research and the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis. Keith Kintigh, Jeffrey Altschul. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444760)

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Abstract Id(s): 21660