Comparative Archaeology and Paleoclimatology

Socio-cultural responses to a changing world

Maximilian O. Baldia, Timothy K. Perttula, and Douglas S. Frink


MultidiscAlinary Old and New World research, using high quality paleoenvironmental and archaeological data, looks for correlations between climatic oscillations and socio-cultural adjustments in nomadic hunter-gatherer, horticultural, sedentary agricultural, and early urbanized societies. The outright collapse of cultural systems, sometimes associated with radical climate change, is not readily demonstrated and some contributions attribute culture change primarily to human agency. Others indicate that different cultures in diverse regions and times employ varying adjustment strategies, including economic and technological innovations (i.e., agriculture, wheels, monumental architecture, metallurgy etc.) and exhibit religious and social upheaval, warfare,genocide, or migration in coping with a changing world.