Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger


Human Impacts on Ancient Marine Ecosystems

A Global Perspective

Torben C. Rick (Editor), Jon M. Erlandson (Editor)


Other Formats Available:
Archaeological data now show that relatively intense human adaptations to coastal environments developed much earlier than once believed—more than 125,000 years ago. With our oceans and marine fisheries currently in a state of crisis, coastal archaeological sites contain a wealth of data that can shed light on the history of human exploitation of marine ecosystems. In eleven case studies from the Americas, Pacific Islands, North Sea, Caribbean, Europe, and Africa, leading researchers working in coastal areas around the world cover diverse marine ecosystems, reaching into deep history to discover how humans interacted with and impacted these aquatic environments and shedding new light on our understanding of contemporary environmental problems.
Torben C. Rick is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University and the author of The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Late Holocene San Miguel Island. Jon M. Erlandson is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. He is coeditor of Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology and author of several books.
“This groundbreaking, ‘must read’ book will serve as the prelude for understanding how the world’s modern marine ecosystems have been so severely impacted by humans.”—Choice
“Rich in data and containing plentiful . . . paleoecological research useful to those studying terrestrial as well as marine ecosystems.”—Philip J. Piper Antiquity
"What impresses you is the broad, holistic arguments for collaborative research and the relevance of archaeology."—Journal Of Ethnobiology
"This highly interesting book expresses the hope that we can learn from early human impacts on the marine environment – from past ‘mistakes’ – to shine a more focused light on future developments. We can only echo the editors’ faith that this approach will enhance the sustainability of the world’s marine ecosystems. This is a critical issue in the new era of marine science, and no one who wishes to participate in this debate – marine biologists, ecologists, coastal managers, archaeologists, anthropologists – can do without the detailed case studies and conclusions presented in this book."—Marine Ecology
“Excellent . . . provides an important foundation for understanding the impacts of prehistoric and historic humans on marine coastal ecosystems. . . . It should be read by . . . archaeologists, ecologists, environmental scientists, historians, marine conservationists, fisheries managers, and policy makers.”—Qtly Review Of Biology
“An excellent volume with mature, sophisticated, comprehensive research by leaders in the fields of archaeology, zooarchaeology, and paleoarchaeology that will be useful to scientists of many interests.”—David Steadman, author of Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds

“This volume will make a significant contribution to our understanding of ancient human impacts on marine ecosystems, which will be of interest to all researchers who are concerned about the environment. The editors and contributors are commended for their efforts on this significant research topic.”—Steven R. James, coeditor of The Archaeology of Global Change: The Impact of Humans on Their Environment

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more