Environmental limitations on agricultural development of the forest zone of the East European Plain (Russian Federation)
Olga N. Trapeznikova, 2011. "Environmental limitations on agricultural development of the forest zone of the East European Plain (Russian Federation)", Human Interactions with the Geosphere: The Geoarchaeological Perspective, L. Wilson
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Intensive agricultural development of the forest zone of the East European Plain started in the second part of the first millennium AD. Although the majority of the mediaeval population were peasants, archaeological study of ancient rural settlements is much less developed than that of ancient towns. The analysis of interrelationships between environmental conditions and the agricultural pattern across space, including the corresponding pattern of rural settlements, helps us to delimit the spatial frame in which it is possible to find rural settlements of different historical epochs, even if they have since disappeared. Five areas with different historical types of agricultural landscapes were revealed, based on their geological and climatic characteristics. Another analysis essential for archaeology deals with the age of contemporary agricultural landscapes and rural settlements along with the factors and laws that control their changes through time and space.
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Human impact on our environment is not a new phenomenon. For millennia, humans have been coping with – or provoking – environmental change. We have exploited, extracted, over-used, but also in many cases nurtured, the resources that the geosphere offers. Geoarchaeology studies the traces of human interactions with the geosphere and provides the key to recognizing landscape and environmental change, human impacts and the effects of environmental change on human societies. This collection of papers from around the world includes case studies and broader reviews covering the time period since before modern human beings came into existence up until the present day. To understand ourselves, we need to understand that our world is constantly changing, and that change is dynamic and complex. Geoarchaeology provides an inclusive and long-term view of human–geosphere interactions and serves as a valuable aid to those who try to determine sustainable policies for the future.