El Niño, Catastrophism, and Culture Change in Ancient America

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Overview


El Niño is an extreme climate perturbation that periodically changes weather throughout the globe, often with dire consequences. First recognized in Peru, El Niño events are best known and documented there. This book summarizes research on the nature of El Niño events in the Americas and details specific historic and prehistoric patterns in Peru and elsewhere. By also looking at other catastrophic natural events in the ancient New World, the book illustrates how scientific archaeology can serve pure research as well as provide information for contemporary issues.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice

The contributions range from providing detailed understandings of paleoclimatic data to specific effects of catastrophic events on human populations and the solutions and adaptations made throughout prehistoric and historic periods. In that sense, the chapters open climatic discussions to the vast range of data from archaeological contexts, which provide the evidence for catastrophic events in the past as well as the different ways in which people in pre-Columbian cultures responded to potential catastrophes.
— R. P. Wright

Choice - R. P. Wright
The contributions range from providing detailed understandings of paleoclimatic data to specific effects of catastrophic events on human populations and the solutions and adaptations made throughout prehistoric and historic periods. In that sense, the chapters open climatic discussions to the vast range of data from archaeological contexts, which provide the evidence for catastrophic events in the past as well as the different ways in which people in pre-Columbian cultures responded to potential catastrophes.
Choice
The contributions range from providing detailed understandings of paleoclimatic data to specific effects of catastrophic events on human populations and the solutions and adaptations made throughout prehistoric and historic periods. In that sense, the chapters open climatic discussions to the vast range of data from archaeological contexts, which provide the evidence for catastrophic events in the past as well as the different ways in which people in pre-Columbian cultures responded to potential catastrophes.
— R. P. Wright
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Product Details

Meet the Author

?Daniel H. Sandweiss is Professor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies and Dean and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies at the University of Maine.

Jeffrey Quilter is Deputy Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Preface by Joanne Pillsbury Introduction Climate, Catastrophe, and Culture in the Ancient Americas, by Daniel H. Sandweiss and Jeffrey Quilter Ancient American Climates Paleoclimate from Ice Cores: A Framework for Archaeological Interpretations, by Paul Andrew Mayweski El Nino and Interannual Variability of Climate in the Western Hemisphere by Kirk Allen Maasch The Andes Climate Change, El Nino, and the rise of Complex Society on the Peruvian Coast during the Middle Holocene, by James B. Richardson III and Daniel H. Sandweiss Catastrophe and the Emergence of Political Complexity: A Social Anthropological Model, by Paul Roscoe Deciphering the Politics of Prehistoric El Nino Events on the North Coast of Peru, by Brian R. Billman and Gary Huckleberry Deadly Deluges in the Southern Desert: Modern and Ancient El Ninos in the Osmore Region of Peru, by Michael E. Moseley and David K. Keefer Marching to Disaster: The Catastrophic Convergence of Inca Imperial Policy, Sand Flies, and El Nino in the 1524 Andean Epidemic, by James B. Kiracofe and John S. Marr Central America and Mesoamerica Armageddon to the Garden of Eden: Explosive Volcanic Eruptions and Societal Resilience in Ancient Middle America, by Payson Sheets The Collapse of Maya Civilization: Assessing the Interaction of Culture, Climate, and Environment, by Jason Yaeger and David A. Hodell And the Waters Took Them: Catastrophic Flooding and Civilization on the Mexican Gulf Coast, by S. Jeffrey K. Wilkerson Notes on Contributors Index

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