Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2016

28 September 2016

Pushing the Limits. Disaster Archaeology, Archaeodisasters and Humans

Amanda Laoupi

Pushing the Limits. Disaster Archaeology, Archaeodisasters and Humans

City: Princeton

Year: 2016

Publisher: Metron Publications

Description: Paperback, 530 p.


The unpredictable, the chaotic, the changeable, have always fascinated the human mind and they have forged the human psyche. They are also present in societies and civilizations since the dawn of human history. But how can we tame such a vast, multidimensional and controversial topic in a single book? Which are the criteria for the selective bibliography, made out of thousands of relevant books, papers, articles, workshops, e-sites and all kind of scientific information? Which disasters should be mentioned, and why? Which aspects of disasters should be analysed, and why? This book focuses on merging all disciplines, perspectives, theories, aspects and applications of disasters in their spatio-temporal framework (archaeodisasters), into one major scientific field (Disaster Archaeology). Short presentations are given, concerning the pioneering trends, the milestones of research, breakthroughs and people whose perspectives changed the way we deal with disasters today. Disaster Archaeology as well as being a science in its own right, is also an outstanding vehicle for learning many of the common principles that unite Science.

In fact, this book is a journey and a path. A journey through time and human history since the Hominid lineage appeared on Earth. And a path into the human body, mind, spirit and psyche, and the way they adapt (perceive, react and create) in a constantly mutable world. Disasters (from local minor changes to severe crises, major collapses and tragic catastrophes) are not mere ‘events’ or ‘phenomena’. They are ‘elements’ and ‘processes’ of the Cosmos. They are expressions of cosmic energy, both in the Universe and in human societies. They embrace information and vibration; they transform, rearrange and forge. They are the vital forces of the Cosmos, since they are considered both as triggering mechanisms and as results of energy flow. An amazing journey, an amazing path…


Foreword [10]
Preface [12]
Prologue [14]
Introduction [15]

1. From Environmental to Disaster Archaeology
1.1 The systematic approach of Culture and Nature [18]
1.2 The concept of niche and hierarchy: Levels of Complexity [20]
1.3 The many landscapes of the polis [23]
1.4 Life-cycle Analysis (LCA) of urban landscapes [29]
1.5 Carrying Capacity and Ecological Footprint Analysis [33]
1.6 Coping Capacity: Adaptive Processes [34]
1.7 Vulnerability, Disaster, Collapse [36]
1.8 The socio-cultural profile of hazards in the ancient Greek mentality [38]

2. Disaster Archaeology: a newborn field of Disaster Studies

3. Methodology [64]
3.1 Issues of terminology [64]
3.2 What kind of hazard or disaster? [82]
3.3 Disaster Assessment of past catastrophic events [84]
3.4. Indices, markers & proxy data of past disasters in archaeoenvironments [86]

4. Catalogue of mega-archaeodisasters
4.1 Volcanic Eruptions [95]
4.2 Earthquakes [101]
4.3. Tsunami [104]
4.4 Complex geodynamics and hydrogeological hazards (landslides, high sedimentation rates, alluvial deposits, fans & deltas, subsidence, soil liquefaction) [109]
4.5 Cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes & storms [114]
4.6 Famines [116]
4.7 Flooding and other water-induced hazards [121]
4.8 Climatic Changes [133]
4.9 Biohazards [138]
4.10 Space Hazards [145]
4.11 Human-induced phenomena (urbanism, deforestation, pollution, agriculture, other human-induced deposition of erosion products, wildfires) [149]
4.12 Mass extinctions [154]
4.13 The Toba event [160]
4.14 The disappearance of the Neanderthals [163]
4.15 The Quaternary extinction events: The Pleistocene or Ice Age Extinction and The Holocene or Recent Extinction [178]

5. The Impact of archaeodisasters on human evolution and Civilization
5.1 Cosmic Impact [183]
5.2 Volcanic landscapes, Hominization and human civilizations [214]
5.3 Climatic Changes [224]

6. Archaeodisasters and the human psyche
6.1 Bibliotheca Catastrophica [276]
6.2 Disaster Mythology and Symbolism [295]
6.3 Archaeodisasters in Arts [333] 
6.4 Ages of Humanity, Utopian and Eschatological Perspectives [344]
6.5 Disaster Psychology [368]

7. Disaster Anthropology
7.1 They were all humans… Witnesses, survivors and victims of archaeodisasters [374]
7.2 ‘Angry Earth’, adaptation process and modern perspectives [385]

8. Disaster Sociology and beyond
8.1 Chaos and Society [388]
8.2 More on Disasters in Nature and Society [394]

9. Disasters: a control weapon? [405]

10. Disaster Economics [410]

11. Heritage Management and New Technologies [417]

Closing thoughts [441]
Acknowledgements [443]
References [445]


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