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<< Wednesday, September 19, 2012 >>

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Reevaluating Advantages of Small-Scale and Diversified Economies: An Archaeologist’s Perspective

Lecture: ARF Brownbag | September 19 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

Junko Habu, Professor, Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Archaeological Research Facility

This presentation argues that archaeology can be used to demonstrate the importance of small-scale and diversified economies, especially of food production, for the long-term sustainability of human societies. Today, most research on food diversity and food self-sufficiency focuses on the discussion of short-term economic costs and benefits, in which the target of future sustainability rarely exceeds the year 2050. On the other hand, archaeology can focus on “long-term” sustainability in the order of hundreds to tens of thousands of years. For example, Early and Middle Jomon (ca. 6000-4000 years ago) archaeological data from northern Japan indicate that the loss of food diversity and an expansion of the scale of society may have negatively affected long-term sustainability of these hunter-gatherer societies. Through the examination of this case study, it is argued that archaeology is critical in our understanding of long-term human-environmental interactions.