Resilience theory in archaeology

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258 Scopus citations


The past can be characterized by periods of changing and stable relationships between human groups and their environment. In this article, I argue that use of "resilience theory" as a conceptual framework will assist archaeologists in interpreting the past in ways that are interesting and potentially relevant to contemporary issues. Many of the authors in this "In Focus" section primarily concentrate on the relationships associated with patterns of human extraction of resources and the impacts of those human activities on the continuing condition of the ecosystem. These processes are, of course, embedded in a complex web of relationships that are based on multiple interactions of underlying patterns and processes of both the ecological and social domains. In this article, I introduce a resilience theory perspective to argue that these transformations were characterized by very different reorganizations of the socioecological landscape and were the product of a variety of factors that operated at different scales of geography, time, and social organization

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Land degradation
  • Panarchy,
  • Resilience theory
  • Socioecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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