Hunter-Gatherer Behavior: Human Response during the Younger Dryas

Hunter-Gatherer Behavior: Human Response during the Younger Dryas

Hunter-Gatherer Behavior: Human Response during the Younger Dryas

Hunter-Gatherer Behavior: Human Response during the Younger Dryas

Synopsis

A major global climate event called the Younger Dryas dramatically affected local environments and human populations at the end of the Pleistocene. This volume is the first book in fifteen years to comprehensively address key questions regarding the extent of this event and how hunter-gatherer populations adapted behaviorally and technologically in the face of major climatic change. An integrated set of theoretical articles and important case studies, written by well-known archaeologists, provide an excellent reference for researchers studying the end of the Pleistocene, as well as those studying hunter-gatherers and their response to climate change.

Excerpt

At the terminal end of the Pleistocene there was a sharp temperature downturn that briefly reversed the general warming trends that were evident prior to the Holocene (Straus and Goebel 2011:259). This climatic cooling event, called the Younger Dryas, has received considerable attention as of late, which is significant when one contemplates that “no event in the climate record has received more attention than the Younger Dryas” (Broecker et al. 2010:1078). It was within this context that the short-lived, extraterrestrial Younger Dyras, origins hypothesis generated substantial debate (e.g., Buchanan et al. 2008; Collard et al. 2008; Firestone et al. 2007; Haynes et al. 2010; Holliday and Meltzer 2010; Paquay et al. 2009; Surovell et al. 2009). However, even more plausible, traditional explanations for Younger Dryas origins (e.g., Alley 2007) have also recently been questioned (e.g., Broecker et al. 2010; Wunsch 2010). Nevertheless, despite a lack of consensus regarding the origins of the Younger Dryas, it is still evident that between 11,000 and 10,000 BP (12,900–11,600 cal BP) a singular event affected climates around the world, which in turn impacted local environments. Yet it appears that these climatic and environmental changes were not globally ubiquitous, nor uniform in strength. Thus, for the archaeologist,

Hunter-Gatherer Behavior: Human Response during The Younger Dryas, edited by Metin I. Eren, 11–24. © Left Coast Press. All rights reserved.

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