Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Agricultural Practice: Transformation Through Time

  • Maria C. BrunoEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_72


Agricultural production is a dynamic process that evolves out of interactions between plants, animals, the environment, and the food needs of human communities. Through time, agricultural practices changed as farmers developed new techniques to meet demands presented by both their physical and sociopolitical environments. The diversity of past agricultural practices and how they changed through time are reflected in a range of archaeological datasets, from large-scale landscape modifications such as irrigation and field systems to small-scale shifts in plant and animal ecologies. Archaeologists employ a range of methodologies to document the diversity of past agricultural practices and to understand the reasons for change.

A unifying topic in the archaeological study of transformations in agricultural practices through time is that of intensification. Intensification is the increase of agricultural output per unit of land per unit of time (Brookfield 1972). Two aspects of...

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Further Reading

  1. Denevan, W. 2002. Cultivated landscapes of native Amazonia and the Andes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Mabry, J. 1996. Canals and communities: small-scale irrigation systems. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  3. Marcus, J. & C. Stanish. (ed.) 2006. Agricultural strategies. Los Angeles: Costen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  4. Miller, N. & K. Gleason. 1994. The archaeology of garden and field. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology/Archaeology DepartmentDickinson CollegeCarlisleUSA