Environmental archaeology is the study of early civilizations using techniques of biological markers that are intrinsic to the layer of human prehistory under investigation. Our understanding of ancient man is enhanced by concurrent study of pollen cores, plant and animal remains, fossil records; even abiotic evidence such as sediment layering, changes in river meanders, ocean levels, salinity records and other inanimate data provide great context to life in earlier times.
The environmental data can not only provide insights as to the time horizons of early civilizations, but also gives direct insights to the lifestyles of those who came before us; namely the dietary habits, proximity to water supplies, wood and clay used in primitive structures are all elucidated by collecting data on environmental features that pertain to the earlier time period.
Examples of archaeological conclusions that can be derived from certain environmental data include: intensity of resource exploitation; population levels and density; nature of society organization; division of labor. Conversely the joint study of conventional archaeological excavation combined with environmental data collection yields important information that is useful to researchers who are concentrating on historical ecology, since the data can be reduced to yield insights as to distributional range of plants and animals relative to human populations; in addition, insights are provided regarding methods of harvesting plants and animals in the prehistoric landscape, that abet our understanding of the time change of species numbers and the influence of man on extinction processes.
The English Channel is that saline water body that connects the North Sea to the Celtic Sea. It is bounded on the north by England and on the south by France. This water body...
Black SeaLast Updated on 2013-09-21 16:00:44The Black Sea is a Mediterranean sea, centered at approximately 35o E and 44o N; it is considered the world’s largest inland water basin, although technically it is connected to the world's oceans via the Bosporus and the Dardanelles.
It has a surface area of about 461,000 km2 and a volume of 537,000 km3 with a mean depth of around 1200 to 1300 metres (m), although depths greater than 2000 m are common in the central basin.
The western part of the Black Sea is a wide shelf that gradually narrows to the south and breaks at around 100-150 m. In the rest of the basin the shelf doesn’t exceed 10 to 15 kilometres in width. It is connected to the Sea of Marmara via the narrow (760 m wide) and shallow (27.5 m maximum depth) Bosporus Straits, and further connects to the Mediterranean Sea via the long and narrow Dardanelles. It is also connected to the Sea of Azov to... More »
Labrador Innu land claims and the indigenous archaeology paradoxLast Updated on 2013-09-05 13:58:35Though several indigenous groups within Canada and North America have historically been exploited during the land claims process, the lack of treaties, the discovery of myriad natural resources, the hydroelectric potential, and the superimposition of provincial boundaries upon “traditional” territory have left the Innu of Interior Labrador (Nitassinan) in a uniquely challenging situation, both with regards to land claims and maintaining their autonomy. In recent years, the Innu of Nitassinan have initiated archaeological research to document sites important to their cultural heritage before they are destroyed in industrial development projects, to provide long standing evidence of land tenure to aide in land claim struggles, and even in what could be deemed “life projects” to help educate their youth.
Arguably, such projects were instrumental in bridging the gap... More »
AnthropoceneLast Updated on 2013-09-03 12:23:40
The Anthropocene defines Earth's most recent geologic time period as being human-influenced, or anthropogenic, based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other earth system processes are now altered by humans. The word combines the root "anthropo", meaning "human" with the root "-cene", the standard suffix for "epoch" in geologic time. The Anthropocene is distinguished as a new period either after or within the Holocene, the current epoch, which began approximately 10,000 years ago (about 8000 BC) with the end of the last glacial period.
Anthropocene is a new term, proposed in 2000 by Nobel Prize winning scientist Paul Crutzen. A similar term, Anthrocene, was coined by Andrew Revkin in his 1992 book Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, but was not adopted by scientists.... More »
North Atlantic moist mixed forestsLast Updated on 2012-09-10 00:00:00
The North Atlantic moist mixed forests ecoregion is a palearctic ecological unit lying in the west of Ireland and northwest of Scotland, along with a very small patch of coastal Norway. The terrestrial extent of this ecoregion is approximately 14,900 square miles.
Prehistorically this ecoregion exhibited a rich forestation, including abundant Scots pine and yew, along with broadleaf species such as oak, ash, birch, hazel abd alder. Significant deforestation occurred beginning in the Bronze Age and culminating in the late medieval times. The present condition of this ecoregion is one of considerable habitat loss, with an estimated 85 to 90 percent of the primordial forest destroyed; moreover, great damage has been carried out from the habitat fragmentation of clearfelling and planting of alien species conifer plantations.
Location and general description
In... More »
Celtic broadleaf forestsLast Updated on 2012-09-04 00:00:00
The Celtic broadleaf forests occupy the majority of the land area of Ireland, and are chiefly situated on the eastern portion of this island; this ecoregion type also occupies the greater part of England, extending over the northern and central portions of England, southwest of England, and even the south and east of Scotland.
There is no vertebrate endemism of this ecoregion, owing to the recent migration of all such taxa to the British Isles following the most recent glacial maximum.
Forests of this ecoregion have been significantly degraded beginning with agriculture in the mid-Holocene and continuing to present time with poor forestry management that has encouraged widespread use of alien species conifer plantations.
Location and general description
The Celtic broadleaf forests occupy the eastern part of Ireland; the vast majority of Wales; extreme southwest... More »
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