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Title: Landscapes of the past: Creation of persistent places in hunter-gatherer landscapes of Southwest Asia and Japan
The archaeology of hunter-gatherers has much to tell us about how humans engaged with the world around them in complex and knowledgeable ways throughout prehistory. The advent of agriculture, often seen as a monolithic and monumentally new way of life, is used as a cultural and chronological marker for when humans began to have notable and lasting impacts on the environment. Some archaeologists suggest that the far-reaching and widespread effects of farming on local habitats, from landscape clearance to the domestication of plants and animals, should mark the beginning of the Anthropocene. Here, I explore some of the ways that we can approach and detect human-environment dynamics among prehistoric hunter-gatherers, using case studies from Southwest Asia and Japan, to explore the transformation of landscapes into social places that a) represent an early expression of behaviors thought to be novel to or typify a ‘Neolithic way of life’ and b) have remained detectable in the archaeological record for the last 20 000 years. These landscape practices highlight that the focus on ‘Neolithization’ is somewhat misleading as they were enacted within a hunter-gatherer world and worldview.
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Japanese journal of archaeology
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National Science Foundation
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