Archaeologists have long been interested in the study of long-term social change. Factors that involve specialization and centralization have been proposed as prime movers for the “development” of human societies. Contrary to these interpretations, I propose a hypothesis that diversity and decentralization may be critical for maintaining long-term sustainability of human societies. Using a case study from the Early and Middle Jomon periods (ca. 4000-2400 BC) of prehistoric Japan, this presentation emphasizes the importance of framing recent and current global environmental problems in the context of the greater human experiences.
Event hosted by the Harvard Archaeology Seminar Series.