Discovering Lost Horizons: People, Land, and Society in Prehistory

Friday, 13 February 2015: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL21E (San Jose Convention Center)
Cultural evolution and changes over time in population size and land use have long dominated archaeological research. Only recently has it been possible to quantify societal interactions and environmental impacts across suitably large geographical areas and long periods of time. Doing so allows archaeological data to be articulated with complementary information from allied disciplines, especially those focused on climatic and environmental change. The research highlighted here uses evidence or models clarifying intergroup interactions and human-environment relationships across areas that previously were too large for rigorous analyses. Papers on eastern North America and the Andes show how the intensity of warfare was highly variable over time and space, being closely related to demographic and societal histories, as well as climatic change. The same is true of human land use, as demonstrated by the distributions of large and small sites in the ancient Near East and the ephemeral camps of pastoralists in central Asia. Agent-based modeling, informed by the rich environmental and archaeological record for the American Southwest, furthers our understanding of how environmental constraints as well as levels of fertility and mortality influence patterns of population growth and decline. In summary, new computer tools, especially those geared toward visualizing human interaction and land use, are revolutionizing how we look at ancient societies and their change over time.
George R. Milner, Pennsylvania State University
Michael Frachetti, Washington University
George R. Milner, Pennsylvania State University; George Chaplin, Pennsylvania State University
Warfare, Population, and Society in Late Prehistoric Eastern North America
Jason Ur, Harvard University; Bjoern Menze, Technical University Munich
Remote Sensing of Early States: Semi-Automated Case Studies from the Near East
Lisa Sattenspiel, University of Missouri; Alan Swedlund, University of Massachusetts; George Gummerman, School for Advanced Research; Amy Warren, University of Missouri
Modeling Environmental and Demographic Effects on Population Size in the Southwest United States
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