News & AnalysisArchaeology

Archaeologists Say the ‘Anthropocene’ Is Here—But It Began Long Ago

Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 261-262
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6130.261

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Summary

A vocal group of geologists and other scientists are pushing to define a new geological epoch, marked by climatic and environmental change caused by humans. At the Society for American Archaeology meetings in Honolulu, archaeologists argued that it's high time for their field, which studies humans and their activities over geological time, to have a greater voice in the debate. The archaeologists agreed that human impacts on the Earth are dramatic enough to merit a new epoch name—but they also argued that such an epoch should start thousands of years ago, rather than focusing on a relatively sudden planetwide change.

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