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Formal Tests for Resistance-Resilience in Archaeological Time Series.

Riris, P. and de Souza, J.G., 2021. Formal Tests for Resistance-Resilience in Archaeological Time Series. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, 740629.

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fevo-09-740629.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2021.740629


The study of resilience is a common pathway for scientific data to inform policy and practice towards impending climate change. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms and features that contribute towards building resilience is a key goal of much research on coupled socio-environmental systems. In parallel, archaeology has developed the ambition to contribute to this agenda through its unique focus on cultural dynamics that occur over the very long term. This paper argues that archaeological studies of resilience are limited in scope and potential impact by incomplete operational definitions of resilience, itself a multifaceted and contested concept. This lack of interdisciplinary engagement fundamentally limits archaeology’s ability to contribute meaningfully to understanding factors behind the emergence and maintenance of long-term societal resilience, a topic of significant interest that the field is in theory ideally positioned to address. Here, we introduce resilience metrics drawn from ecology and develop case studies to illustrate their potential utility for archaeological studies. We achieve this by extending methods for formally measuring resistance, the capacity of a system to absorb disturbances; and resilience, its capacity to recover from disturbances, with a novel significance test for palaeodemographic data. Building on statistical permutation and post-hoc tests available in the rcarbon package in the R statistical environment, we apply our adapted resilience-resistance framework to summed probability distributions of calibrated radiocarbon dates drawn from the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil. We deploy these methods to investigate cross-sectional trends across three recognised biogeographical zones of the Atlantic Forest domain, against the backdrop of prehistoric phases of heightened hydroclimatic variability. Our analysis uncovers novel centennial-scale spatial structure in the resilience of palaeodemographic growth rates. In addition to the case-specific findings, we suggest that adapting formal metrics can help archaeology create impact and engagement beyond relatively narrow disciplinary concerns. To this end, we supply code and data to replicate our palaeodemographic analyses to enable their use and adaptation to other archaeological problems.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:South America, palaeodemography, radiocarbon, archaeology, climate change, resilience, Atlantic Forest, Neotropics
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:36474
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:10 Jan 2022 16:22
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:31


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