Much recent archaeological research focuses on social forces
as the impetus for cultural change. Soils, Climate and
Society, however, focuses on the complex relationship between
human populations and the physical environment, particularly the
land--the foundation of agricultural production and, by extension,
of agricultural peoples.
The volume traces the origins of agriculture, the transition to
agrarian societies, the sociocultural implications of agriculture,
agriculture's effects on population, and the theory of carrying
capacity, considering the relation of agriculture to the profound
social changes that it wrought in the New World. Soil science plays
a significant, though varied, role in each case study, and is the
common component of each analysis. Soil chemistry is also of
particular importance to several of the studies, as it determines
the amount of food that can be produced in a particular soil and
the effects of occupation or cultivation on that soil, thus having
consequences for future cultivators.
Soils, Climate and Society demonstrates that renewed
investigation of agricultural production and demography can answer
questions about the past, as well as stimulate further research. It
will be of interest to scholars of archaeology, historical ecology
and geography, and agricultural history.
Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology
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