Archaeology and ecology combined paint a fuller picture of past human-nature relationships

For decades now, archaeologists wielded the tools of their trade to unearth clues about past peoples, while ecologists have sought to understand current ecosystems. But these well-established scientific disciplines tend to neglect the important question of how humans and nature interacted and shaped each other across different places and through time. An emerging field called archaeoecology can fill that knowledge gap and offer insights into how to solve today’s sustainability challenges, but first, it must be clearly defined. A new paper by SFI Complexity Fellow Stefani Crabtree and Jennifer Dunne, SFI’s Vice President for Science, lays out the first comprehensive definition of archaeoecology and calls for more research in this nascent but important field.

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