Sustainable Lifeways addresses forces of conservatism and innovation in societies dependent on the exploitation of aquatic and other wild resources, agriculture, and specialized pastoralism. The volume gathers specialists working in four areas of the world with significant archaeological and paleoenvironmental databases: West Asia, the American Southwest, East Africa, and Andean South America, and contributing to research in three broad time scales: long term (spanning millennia), medium term (archaeological time, spanning centuries or a few thousand years), and recent (ethnohistoric or ethnographic, spanning years or decades).
By bringing an archaeological eye to an examination of human response to unpredictable environmental conditions, informed by an understanding of contemporary traditional peoples, the contributors to this volume develop a more detailed picture of how societies perceive environmental risk, how they alter their behavior in the face of changing conditions, and under what challenges the most rapid and far-reaching changes in adaptation have taken place. Sustainable Lifeways enhances our understanding of both the forces of conservatism and innovation which may have been in play in major transitions in the past, such as the development of complex society, and the expansions of early empires. Studies present examples of cattle herders in East Africa, hunter-gatherers and pastoralists in the Levant, South American fisher/farmers, and farmer/hunters of the U.S. Southwest.
Naomi F. Miller is Research Project Manager in the Near East Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Katherine M. Moore is Consulting Scholar in the American Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Kathleen Ryan is Consulting Scholar in the African Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
A podcast interview with the editors is available at the Penn Press Podcast page.