Human Impacts on Equatorial Landscapes: How sound is the marriage between archaeology and paleoenvironmental reconstruction?
Archaeology regularly defers to proxy data sources such as sediment and/or pollen cores for evidence of human intervention in the landscape, though the legitimacy of drawing these correlations is yet to be sufficiently tested; in sub-Saharan Africa there remains a concerning paucity of contexts from which both significant paleoenvironmental data and archaeological material have been retrieved.
My research considers the historical ecology of the highlands of southwest Uganda; specifically, I am looking at whether the introduction of industries such as farming and iron smelting had a demonstrable impact on the tropical landscape, to the extent that a signature should be visible in environmental proxies. By evaluating the archaeological record of the Lake Bunyonyi basin with reference to existing paleoenvironmental reconstructions, I hope to establish whether periodic episodes of deforestation over during the last 3000 years can legitimately be considered anthropogenic. My aim is to provide an assessment of the efficacy of using environmental data sources as archaeological proxies in an equatorial African context.
A secondary goal of this research will be to explore how rural communities in Eastern Africa have responded to natural climatic change in the past, to inform on how the challenges presented by future environmental change might be met.
- Arts and Humanities Research Council
- BA, Archaeology, UCL, 2010
- MA, Archaeology, UCL, 2012
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