Landscapes in Flux: The Changing Influence of Humans on the Environments in Malawi (100,000 years ago to today)
IAKHs nyansatte førsteamanuensis David Wright forteller om sitt feltarbeid i Malawi.
There is no question that humans radically and profoundly alter the landscapes they inhabit. However, the scale and scope of human influence is contestable over space and time, according to the subsistence strategies pursued and raw population numbers present in specific areas. My research challenges long held assumptions regarding technological and social complexity as it pertains to human footprints on ecological systems. Hunter-gatherers with so-called “simple” lithic technologies made profound changes to the south-central African landscape as recorded in a 636,000-year lake core record from Malawi. The changes begun during the Middle Stone Age (ca. 92,000 years ago) were induced by fire-scorching the landscape and accelerated following the introduction and intensification of agriculture. Ancient DNA from human burials show a concurrent genetic population succession before and after farming technologies reached the area. As humans continue to exert enormous influence on the ecology of this planet, it is critical that research is conducted to better contextualize the environmental matrix in which the modern landscape evolved
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