Paleoclimates and the Mande

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Mande Studies

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In a recent explosion of publications, seminars, and even pieces for the popular press, archaeologists and historians have explored the concept of historical ecology, or the long-term, complex, and recursive relationship between human action and environmental change. In the earlier literature dealing with humans and their environmental change. The emphasis in historical ecology really is upon the "back-and-forth" (recursive) interactions - how human actions have altered not just local environments, but also how we have contributed to, and not just responded to, climate change. In the historical sciences, including prehistoric archaeology, and in human geography in particular, some of this interest coalesces into a focus on landscapes. Freed from the environmental determinism of the early twentieth century, the current concept of landscape acknowledges the human contribution to "all physical, biological, and cultural phenomena interacting within a region...[some portions of which]... will manifest themselves as physical residues of antecedent landscapes within a local developmental trajectory... residues that include evidence of human action on the physical environment." (McIntosh, Tainter, and McIntosh 2000: 14-15).

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