A Framework for the Middle-Late Holocene Transition: Astronomical and Geophysical Conditions

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joel D. Gunn, Lecturer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The Middle-Late Holocene transition around 2,500 B.C. is one of the defining episodes of regional landscape changes in the Southeastern United States area and throughout the world. Coeval cultural and climatic changes are recognized locally and worldwide. Analyzing local cultural change records while incognizant of the shifts in global scale context can lead to misunderstandings of the reasons for changes. Studies of the global climate processes suggest that climate differences between the Middle and Late Holocene could emanate from astronomical and geophysical influences. The influences include variations in the earth's rotational tilt, solar emissions, global-scale volcanism, and atmospheric chemistry. How do these quantities affect watershed-sized landscapes? Resolving this question requires a landscape-oriented analysis of global climate forces. A "looking-up" perspective on global climate is proposed that is compatible with the needs of archaeological analysis, and which supplements the "looking down" emphasis of climatology. The looking-up perspective takes advantage of the variability and long term cyclicity of global climate. Regional climate impacts of global change are modeled using modern climate processes to test for sensitivity of regional hydrology to global change, especially seasonality of precipitation. Landscape impact hypotheses are suggested in anticipation of further study.

Additional Information

Southeastern Archaeology,16:135-151
Language: English
Date: 1997
Middle-Late Holocene transition, landscape changes, Southeastern United States, climatic changes, cultural change, climate change causes

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