Rhymes with the Past: Recent Editorial in the AAA Anthropology News

Posted on 29. Jan, 2012 by Christopher Fisher in Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

Rhymes with the Past: Recent Editorial in the AAA Anthropology News

The title of the post comes from a quote by Mark Twain – pretty smart individual!!  Thanks to C. Wells for allowing the editorial.

Full text is here

Chris

LiDAR at Angamuco

Posted on 26. Jan, 2012 by Christopher Fisher in Michoacán, NASA, Publications, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

LiDAR at Angamuco

Getting Ready for 2011 Fieldwork

Posted on 19. Apr, 2011 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, Michoacán, News, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

Getting Ready for 2011 Fieldwork

The LORE-LPB project is gearing up for the 2011 season with more promising archaeology on the way.  By late May we hope to have LIDAR coverage for the site with the expectation that this should greatly increase the amount of area we are able to cover.  More exciting news is on the way.

Chris

LORE-LPB 2010 in the News

Posted on 02. Aug, 2010 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, Michoacán, Pátzcuaro Archaeology

LORE-LPB 2010 in the News

Recent article in Reforma from Julieta Riveroll Rodarte who came to visit the project this summer.

Thanks again Julieta

Recent Reforma article

Recent Reforma article

New Space Archaeology Grant From NASA

Posted on 20. May, 2010 by Christopher Fisher in Grants, Michoacán, NASA, News, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, Uncategorized

New Space Archaeology Grant From NASA

Colorado State University geographers and anthropologists will use satellite imagery to examine ancient societies in Mexico as part of a Space Archaeology grant from NASA.

Long-term consequences of climate change

Satellite imagery from NASA will help CSU Geographer Stephen J. Leisz and colleague Christopher T. Fisher examine the long-term consequences of climate change on ancient societies in Mexico and model long-term human and environment interaction in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin in Michoacán, Mexico.

The high resolution ALOS PRISM satellite data provided to the team through the NASA grant will be integrated with ongoing archaeological and paleoenvironmental investigations to examine relationships between climatic fluctuation, landscape development, land degradation and the formation of complex societies in the west central highlands of Mexico, as part of the Legacies of Resilience: The Lake Pátzcuaro Basin Archaeological Project.

Remote sensing data

The project uses remote sensing data to better model the ancient landscape in ways not possible with data otherwise available. It is expected that the development of high-resolution, large-area, elevation models from the satellite data will represent an important archaeological tool for the research team.

The Advanced Land Observing Satellite, or ALOS, in orbit above Earth. (Photo courtesy of NASA).

“This research will allow us to create and test high spatial resolution models of linked human and environmental development and collapse over long periods of time that will in turn help current and future conservation efforts throughout Latin America,” said Leisz.

New and innovative technique

Researchers will examine the impact of the Medieval climatic anomaly (A.D. 950-1250) and the subsequent ‘Little Ice Age’ on Central Mexico.

By integrating ALOS PRISM satellite data into their research, Leisz and Fisher are offering a new and innovative technique, with potential for use by other scientists.

“The Lake Pátzcuaro Basin is an important example of coupled human and environmental change,” said Fisher, director of the Legacies project.

“A key aspect of the Legacies project is to create explanatory models to help explain changes in ancient lake level, distribution of agricultural lands and the location of ancient settlements. We want to see how people in the past responded to climate change as examples that can help modern policy.”

Agricultural adaptations

Fisher and Leisz will specifically look at the impact of the Medieval climatic anomaly (A.D. 950-1250) and the subsequent ‘Little Ice Age’ on Central Mexico.

“For the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, the Medieval climatic anomaly likely lowered lake levels and increased the agrarian potential of the region, while the opposite may have occurred during the Little Ice Age,” said Fisher. “This is the opposite impact expected by many researchers.”

How ancient peoples modified their landscape

Researchers will examine the impact of the Medieval climatic anomaly (A.D. 950-1250) and the subsequent 'Little Ice Age' on Central Mexico.

“Through the NASA-supported research we hope to better understand how ancient peoples modified their landscape to mitigate the impact of climatic fluctuation,” Leisz said. “As societies become larger, they have access to increasing amounts of labor that they often invest in the landscape to mitigate environmental change.”

One important outcome of the project will be a better understanding of the timing, form, and function of intensive agricultural features such as terraces that are found throughout the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin.

“Ultimately we hope to focus on environmental change as a long-term process rather then a trigger for social complexity,” said Fisher.

Collect ground reference data in conjunction with satellite

CSU graduate student Jason Bush surveying with Trimble equipment in Michoacán, Mexico.

Fisher and Leisz begin field work on the two-year, $155,591 grant in summer 2010. The researchers will use TrimbleRecon rugged handheld computers as well as the GeoXH and GeoXT GPS receivers, to accurately map every cultural feature they encounter as well as collect ground reference data that will be used in conjunction with the satellite imagery to create high-resolution elevation models of the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin.

CSU graduate student Jason Bush surveying with Trimble equipment in Michoacán, Mexico.

Fisher and his team recently discovered the ruins of an ancient urban center in the heart of the Purépecha Empire in Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, located in the central Mexican state of Michoacán.

Multidisciplinary research project

The multidisciplinary Legacies of Resilience: The Lake Pátzcuaro Basin Archaeological Project includes archaeologists, geologists and geographers from the United States and Mexico. They explore prehistoric sites to better understand the development of prehistoric societies and relationships between humans and climate change.

Fisher is a fellow with CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

Contact: Kimberly Sorensen
E-mail: Kimberly.Sorensen@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-0757

Descruben Antiquo Suburbio Purépecha – New Reforma Article

Posted on 24. Apr, 2010 by Christopher Fisher in News, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

Descruben Antiquo Suburbio Purépecha – New Reforma Article

Here is an article by Erika Perez Bucio that recently appeared in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma detailing the LORE-LPB 2009 research. A great article and I thank Erika for her time and effort – hopefully we can get her to Michoacán over the summer

Click here for a .pdf

The Lake Pátzcuaro Basin Archaeological Project 2009

Posted on 11. Apr, 2008 by Christopher Fisher in Pátzcuaro Archaeology

The Lake Pátzcuaro Basin Archaeological Project 2009

One of the great challenges for the 21st century will be creating solutions to linked social and environmental change. Archaeology is uniquely poised to make a significant contribution to this debate by helping to explain trajectories of socio-ecosystem evolution over long time scales. With National Science Foundation support Dr. Christopher Fisher, and an international team of colleagues will conduct two seasons of multi-disciplinary research in West Central Mexico to explore relationships between climatic fluctuation, landscape change, and the formation of the Prehistoric Tarascan (Purépecha) Empire. At the time of European contact the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin (LPB) was the geopolitical core of the Tarascan Empire and has long been recognized as a Mesoamerican core region. Prior to European conquest the LPB contained a large population, centralized settlement system, social stratification, and a highly engineered environment.

New Book from Chris Fisher

Posted on 30. Sep, 2007 by Christopher Fisher in Pátzcuaro Archaeology

New Book from Chris Fisher

CoverThe Archaeology of Environmental Change
Socionatural Legacies of Degradation and Resilience
Edited by Christopher T. Fisher; J. Brett Hill; Gary M. Feinman
320 pp. / 6.0 x 9.0 / 2009
Cloth (978-0-8165-2676-5)

Water management, soil conservation, sustainable animal husbandry . . . because such socio-environmental challenges have been faced throughout history, lessons from the past can often inform modern policy. In this book, case studies from a wide range of times and places reveal how archaeology can contribute to a better understanding of humans’ relation to the environment.

The Archaeology of Environmental Change shows that the challenges facing humanity today, in terms of causing and reacting to environmental change, can be better approached through an attempt to understand how societies in the past dealt with similar circumstances. The contributors draw on archaeological research in multiple regions—North America, Mesoamerica, Europe, the Near East, and Africa—from time periods spanning the Holocene, and from environments ranging from tropical forest to desert.

Through such examples as environmental degradation in Transjordan, wildlife management in East Africa, and soil conservation among the ancient Maya, they demonstrate the negative effects humans have had on their environments and how societies in the past dealt with these same problems. All call into question and ultimately refute popular notions of a simple cause-and-effect relationship between people and their environment, and reject the notion of people as either hapless victims of unstoppable forces or inevitable destroyers of natural harmony.

These contributions show that by examining long-term trajectories of socio-natural relationships we can better define concepts such as sustainability, land degradation, and conservation—and that gaining a more accurate and complete understanding of these connections is essential for evaluating current theories and models of environmental degradation and conservation. Their insights demonstrate that to understand the present environment and to manage landscapes for the future, we must consider the historical record of the total sweep of anthropogenic environmental change.