environmental archaeology

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A branch of archaeology concerned especially with documenting and understanding the physical environment in which particular cultural systems operated. The focus of such work is sometimes synchronic in trying to reconstruct a picture of land use at or around a site at a particular phase in its history, at other times diachronic in trying to understand the changing nature of vegetation cover or animal populations in a given landscape. Increasingly, interest has moved towards the matter of context, the dynamics of relationships between people and their environment, and the symbolic meanings that earlier populations attached to particular plants, animals, or sectors of the landscape they occupied.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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