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Environmental Archaeology Essay

1061 words - 4 pages

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. (Chapin et al, 2002). Environmental archaeology is a sub-field of archaeology and is the science of reconstructing the relationship between ancient peoples and the environments they lived in (Retrieved from: http://www.environmental-archaeology.com/). Environmental archaeology especially can provide us with great information on the changes and of course its causes within an ecosystem. From changes in the landscapes and diet quantity, as well as earth's climate and human disturbance, not only shaped the face of the ecosystems but surely life in them. There are a number of methods to examine and process all these information that the ecosystems are hiding from their interaction with humans and wait for archaeologists to find them.For starters, many methods used to analyse archaeological sites are relevant to the analysis of landscapes. The archaeology of landscapes incorporates multiple research methods into its analysis in order to ensure that multiple sources of information are gathered; allowing for a sound interpretation of the site in question. These methods include pollen analysis and geographic information systems, soil sampling, faunal analysis, ground penetrating radar, archival data, and of course archaeological excavation methods (Baugher et al, 2002). As an example, Geographic Information Systems, commonly referred to as GIS, provides a way in which archaeologists can visually represent archaeological data, and can be done in two ways: data visualization and representative visualization (McCoy et al, 2009).Moreover pollen analysis can also provide us with information. Once samples have been prepared chemically, they are mounted on microscope slides using silicon oil, glycerol or glycerol-jelly and examined using light microscopy or mounted on a stub for scanning electron microscopy. Researchers will often study either modern samples from a number of unique sites within a given area, or samples from a single site with a record through time, such as samples obtained from peat or lake sediments. More recent studies have used the modern analog technique in which paleo-samples are compared to modern samples for which the parent vegetation is known. When the slides are observed under a microscope, the researcher counts the number of grains of each pollen taxon. This record is next used to produce a pollen diagram. These data can be used to detect anthropogenic effects, such as logging(Niklasson et al, 2002), traditional patterns of land use (Hebda et al, 1984), or long term changes in regional climate (Heusser et al, 1985).Secondly, through paleoethnobotany, archaeologists can retrieve more data of the humans diet in a particular ecosystem that they know that it was occupied around a specific era. Paleoethnobotany can be divided into field work, collections management, systematic description of species,...

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