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Landscapes and Societies : Selected Cases - I. Peter Martini

Landscapes and Societies

Selected Cases

By: I. Peter Martini (Editor), Ward Chesworth (Editor)

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This book contains case histories intended to show how societies and landscapes interact. The range of interest stretches from the small groups of the earliest Neolithic, through Bronze and Iron Age civilizations, to modern nation states. The coexistence is, of its very nature reciprocal, resulting in changes in both society and landscape. In some instances the adaptations may be judged successful in terms of human needs, but failure is common and even the successful cases are ephemeral when judged in the light of history.

Comparisons and contrasts between the various cases can be made at various scales from global through inter-regional, to regional and smaller scales. At the global scale, all societies deal with major problems of climate change, sea-level rise, and with ubiquitous problems such as soil erosion and landscape degradation. Inter-regional differences bring out significant detail with one region suffering from drought when another suffers from widespread flooding. For example, desertification in North Africa and the Near East contrasts with the temperate countries of southern Europe where the landscape-effects of deforestation are more obvious. And China and Japan offer an interesting comparison from the standpoint of geological hazards to society - large, unpredictable and massively erosive rivers in the former case, volcanoes and accompanying earthquakes in the latter. Within the North African region localized climatic changes led to abandonment of some desertified areas with successful adjustments in others, with the ultimate evolution into the formative civilization of Egypt, the "Gift of the Nile". At a smaller scale it is instructive to compare the city-states of the Medieval and early Renaissance times that developed in the watershed of a single river, the Arno in Tuscany, and how Pisa, Siena and Florence developed and reached their golden periods at different times depending on their location with regard to proximity to the sea, to the main trunk of the river, or in the adjacent hills.

Also noteworthy is the role of technology in opening up opportunities for a society. Consider the Netherlands and how its history has been formed by the technical problem of a populous society dealing with too much water, as an inexorably rising sea threatens their landscape; or the case of communities in Colorado trying to deal with too little water for farmers and domestic users, by bringing their supply over a mountain chain.

These and others cases included in the book, provide evidence of the successes, near misses and outright failures that mark our ongoing relationship with landscape throughout the history of Homo sapiens. The hope is that compilations such as this will lead to a better understanding of the issue and provide us with knowledge valuable in planning a sustainable modus vivendi between humanity and landscape for as long as possible.

Audience: The book will interest geomorphologists, geologists, geographers, archaeologists, anthropologists, ecologists, environmentalists, historians and others in the academic world. Practically, planners and managers interested in landscape/environmental conditions will find interest in these pages, and more generally the increasingly large body of opinion in the general public, with concerns about Planet Earth, will find much to inform their opinions.

Extra material: The color plate section is available at http://extras.springer.com

From the reviews:

"The editors of this book compile a multidisciplinary collection of case studies that examine human and environment relationships over different time periods, and focus particularly on how adaptive behaviors change in response to environmental change. ... Landscapes and Societies would be a valuable book for students and scholars who want to better understand the processes of societal and landscape change through an integrative analysis of the physical environment and human activities over time." (Kimberly E. Medley, Landscape Ecology, Vol. 27, 2012)

Introductionp. 1
Summaries of the Contributions and a Few Considerationsp. 3
A Semantic Introductionp. 19
Womb, Belly and Landscape in the Anthropocenep. 25
The Mediterranean and European World-Arid Mediterranean Landsp. 41
Human Responses to Climatically-driven Landscape Change and Resource Scarcity: Learning from the Past and Planning for the Futurep. 43
Human Communities in a Drying Landscape: Holocene Climate Change and Cultural Response in the Central Saharap. 67
The Desertification of the Egyptian Sahara during the Holocene (the Last 10,000 years) and Its Influence on the Rise of Egyptian Civilizationp. 91
Paleoenvironments and Prehistory in the Holocene of SE Arabiap. 109
Human Paleoecology in the Ancient Metal-Smelting and Farming Complex in the Wadi Faynan, SW Jordan, at the Desert Margin in the Middle Eastp. 121
Empire and Environment in the Northern Fertile Crescentp. 135
The Mediterranean and European World-Warm-Temperate Mediterranean Landsp. 153
The Interplay between Environment and People from Neolithic to Classical Times in Greece and Albaniap. 155
The Nuragic People: Their Settlements, Economic Activities and Use of the Land, Sardinia, Italyp. 167
Floods, Mudflows, Landslides: Adaptation of Etruscan-Roman Communities to Hydrogeological Hazards in the Arno River Catchment (Tuscany, Central Italy)p. 187
Landscape Influences on the Development of the Medieval-Early Renaissance City-states of Pisa, Florence, and Siena, Italyp. 203
Paleo-Hazards in the Coastal Mediterranean: A Geoarchaeological Approachp. 223
Mount Etna, Sicily: Landscape Evolution and Hazard Responses in the Pre-industrial Erap. 235
The Mediterranean and European World-Cool-Temperate European Landsp. 255
Romanian Carpathian Landscapes and Culturesp. 257
Sea-Level Rise and the Response of the Dutch People: Adaptive Strategies Based on Geomorphologic Principles Give Sustainable Solutionsp. 271
Perception of Volcanic Eruptions in Icelandp. 285
South and East Asiap. 297
Holocene Environmental Changes and the Evolution of the Neolithic Cultures in Chinap. 299
Landscape and Subsistence in Japanese Historyp. 321
Evolution of Hydraulic Societies in the Ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom of Sri Lankap. 341
Disease in History: The Case of the Austronesian Expansion in the Pacificp. 353
Central and North Americap. 367
Farms and Forests: Spatial and Temporal Perspectives on Ancient Maya Landscapesp. 369
Water Follows the People: Analysis of Water Use in the Western Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USAp. 391
Frozen Coasts and the Development of Inuit Culture in the North American Arcticp. 407
Glossaryp. 423
Indexp. 441
Color Plate Sectionp. 469
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9789048194124
ISBN-10: 9048194121
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 478
Published: 11th November 2010
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 26.0 x 19.3  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 1.18