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People as an agent of environmental change.

R.A. NICHOLSON & T.P. O'CONNOR (ed.). People as an agent of environmental change (Symposia of the Association for Environmental Archaeology 16). ix+133 pages, 53 figures, 17 tables. 2000. Oxford: Oxbow; 1-84217-002-3 paperback 28 [pounds sterling].

Ms NICHOLSON & Prof. O'CONNOR introduce 13 papers on people's impacts on the environment. Ten are case studies, ranging from the palynology of three periods in northern Greece to the effects of Bronze Age mining at Mount Gabriel and a reassessment of pre-European erosion in Mexico. R. Tipping contributes a methodological paper on correlating flood deposits (and see the review of Earth sciences in the next section). There are a couple of papers on faunal extinctions (Mediterranean and South American). An interesting paper on the impact of marine transgression on mites departs from the general theme. The late C. Dickson contributes on the prehistoric decline of woodland in Orkney; and R. Housley writes an obituary of her. Prof. BAILEY et al. present 16 papers: four general essays (N. Winder on theory, D. Brothwell on microbes, Prof. O'Connor on scavengers in Medieval towns and J. Bintliff on `settlement and territory') and nine case studies, ranging from the effects of the diversification caused by tectonics and vulcanism on human evolution in the African Rift (BAILEY et al.), to those of fluctuating sea level on activity around the Humber (R. v.d. Noort & W. Fletcher), to the Danebury Environs project (G. Campbell & J. Hamilton) and suggestions arising from the contemporary spread of beaver in France (B. Coles). On problems of silting, see below, our picture review and TRIPATI in `South Asia'.

The subject of the Geological Society's book (McGUIRE et al.) is more dramatic. 19 of the 28 substantial papers are case studies of the direct or indirect effects of volcanic explosions from Santorini (Thera -- five articles, one on the island's pre-Minoan form) and Pompeii to Mexico (two studies, one of them with remarks on symbolic responses, the other with new data on the sequence at Cuicuilco), Alaska and New Guinea. R.A. Dodgshon et al. assess the effects of vulcanism in Iceland on farming in Scotland. There are a couple of articles on uses of volcanic stone (Roman and Olmec) and a handful of methodological papers. See too Earth Sciences in the following section; and The Little Ice Age in `Also received', below.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:JAMES, N.
Publication:Antiquity
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Words:387
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