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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 4036 times)
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 08:57:17 am »


That media interest grew because the idea that climate change could have led to the world’s first civilizations
has only recently been considered seriously by academics.

The Western Sahara Project members aren’t the only ones.

Daniel Sandweiss, professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine, has
long been studying the cultural effects of climate changes along the northwestern coast
of South America. He too shuns use of the term “environmental determinism,” but he says there is a connection.

“Although environmental factors can move people in particular directions or force people to change in some way, you can’t absolutely predict direct causative links between environmental change and particular human outcomes,” Sandweiss tells me in a later interview. “But you can say that in periods
of particularly stressful change, people respond in some way. And archeologically we can look at the outcomes
and suggest that, in some cases, there is a link.”

Maybe behavior wasn’t determined by the climatic event, since there were many different choices how people
might deal with environmental change. “But it appears that part of the response to the changes in the climate
is what we see in the culture.”

Clearly not all climate change results in the rise of civilizations, he adds.

Conditions have to be right.

“If mobile hunter-gatherers living in a region where population density is low have a downturn in their particular territory, they could move somewhere else and continue the same lifestyle. Maybe you exploit different plants
and animals in the new location, but you’re still a hunter-gatherer or fisher. And you might some day come back
to your original area—you can move around.”
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