Special Issue "Human Activities and Development of Food Production in the Holocene"
A special issue of Quaternary (ISSN 2571-550X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2021).
Interests: archaeology; late prehistoric European archaeology; demography; computational and statistical modelling
One of the defining traits of human societies in the Holocene is the adoption of farming, that is, systems of production that involve the management of domesticated plants and animals to varying degrees. This technological innovation is related to shifts in demographic regimes and increased anthropic pressure on the environment, processes whose combined and cumulative impact sets apart the Holocene from other geological periods. As productivity demands increase, due, for instance, to demographic pressure, human societies have developed two general strategies to assure the required supply of calories: land use expansion (i.e., conversion from one land class to land primarily dedicated to food production) and intensification (i.e., practices that increase land productivity and/or alter ecosystem properties).
Recent research, furthermore, underscores the diversity within and between known hearths of domestication across the globe. The adaptive strategies that emerged from structural transformations to human–environment relationships display a concordant variety of configurations, with specific long-term trajectories and consequences. This quality is a challenge to global syntheses of ancient land use change, as archaeology and allied disciplines are pressed to systematise diverse data to a degree that facilitates comparisons. Proposed solutions include adopting approaches from socio-ecological systems (SES), middle-range theory and computational modelling, as well as interdisciplinary dialogue, all of which archaeologists are actively engaging with.
Contributions to this Special Issue will explore the range of strategies deployed to expand and/or intensify land productivity, including, but not restricted to, introduction of domesticates outside of their original ecological niches, modification of domesticate behaviour and/or properties, settlement in diversified landscapes, investment in landesque capital/infrastructure, and changes to demographic and/or social regimes. We also invite perspectives on the challenges that can follow from socio-ecological regime shifts under land use expansion/intensification, for example, impacts on biodiversity, human health and mortality, runaway environmental feedbacks and institutional change.
Contributions are requested from any geographical, chronological or methodological perspective, with regional and comparative syntheses being particularly welcome.
Dr. Marc Vander Linden
Dr. Philip Riris
Manuscript Submission Information
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- land use