Big Histories, Human Lives: Tackling Problems of Scale in Archaeology

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We may be due an Ice Age any day now as the earth wobbles through its complex long-term cycles of axial tilt, precession, and eccentricity. Not only are these cycles—on the scale of hundreds of thousands of years—poorly understood, but they intersect with other trends that could have an equally massive effect on our planet. It does not take an Ice Age, however, to change our lives; we are so accustomed to our present-day situation that even shorter term, relatively small changes may create havoc. Such fluctuations, no matter what their size, must be understood at broad scales of analysis similar to those contemplated in this book for human history generally. Big Histories, Human Lives is a re-theorizing of scale and change in human history as they are related to the big picture—the relationships between time, the environment, and all of human experience on earth.

The contributors consider something archaeologists seldom think about: the intersection of micro-scale human experience with large-scale and long-term histories. Did history unfold in different ways for different people? What are the central historical processes behind such unfoldings? How are we to understand these events and their relevance to us today?
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationSanta Fe
PublisherSchool for Advanced Research (SAR) Press
Number of pages296
StatePublished - 2013


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