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Introduction: Human Behavior and Holocene Ecology

  • George P. Nicholas
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)

Abstract

For over 10,000 years, human populations have occupied the dynamic, ecologically diverse landscapes of northeastern North America. Throughout the course of the Holocene period, prehistoric and historic communities have each exhibited a wide array of behavioral, social, and technological adaptations in response to a diversity of environmental and social settings. The greater part of this period was dominated by various gathering-hunting-fishing strategies, and it was apparently only in the last 1,000 years that horticulture had a significant impact on prehistoric economy. By the sixteenth century, aboriginal lifeways were being regularly impacted by the early Basque fisheries; increasing contact with European colonists led initially to changes in land use in response to the für trade, but quickly resulted in the decimation of local native populations by a series of plagues, wars, and other adverse circumstances. The historic settlement of the region was until recently agriculturally based, with broader patterns of land use focused on coastal resources, the waterways of the interior, and the timber industries. By the mid-nineteenth century, segments of the landscape were being rapidly industrialized. The Holocene period in the Northeast is thus a period of significant social transformation, favorable and unfavorable historical circumstances, and environmental variability.

Keywords

Holocene Period Human Ecology Human Adaptation Timber Industry Quaternary Science Review 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. Nicholas
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Research DepartmentAmerican Indian Archaeological InstituteWashingtonUSA

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