PerspectiveArchaeology

People, Societies, and Landscapes

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Science  23 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5977, pp. 443-444
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186019

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Summary

Ever since humans domesticated plants and animals, they have wielded the potential to substantially change the shape of the landscape. But more often than not, landscape change is driven not just by human activity but also by underlying factors such as climate and soil type. In the long-term interactions among people, society, and landscape, any one factor—including climate—may be responsible for tipping a system into instability. Archaeologists increasingly use advanced geographical modeling techniques to unravel these complex interactions at a community or farmstead scale (14).