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Kent G. Lightfoot, Rob Q. Cuthrell, Chuck J. Striplen, Mark G. Hylkema
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Fire & Traditional Knowledge
Management Approaches

NRFSN number: 16979
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There has been little movement to systematically incorporate the study of indigenous landscape management practices the method and theory of hunter-gatherer research in North American archaeology, despite a growing interest in this The purposes of this article are twofold. One is to address why, until quite recently, archaeologists have been reluctant engage in the current debate about the scale and ecological impact of these practices, particularly anthropogenic burning. We argue that this stems from a long tradition of viewing hunter-gatherers as passive, immediate-return foragers, as from the daunting methodological challenges of identifying landscape management activities using archaeological Our second purpose is to explore how archaeologists can make significant contributions to our understanding of past management practices through the creation of new kinds of collaborative, interdisciplinary eco-archaeological Based on the current work of scholars in archaeological and environmental disciplines, as well as on our own implementation of such an approach in central California, we discuss the importance of maintaining mutual relationships with tribes, the challenges of coordinating multiple data sets, and the process of rethinking our analytical methods and temporal scales for undertaking hunter-gatherer studies.


Lightfoot KG, Cuthrell RQ, Striplen CJ, Hylkema MG. 2013. Rethinking the study of landscape management practices among hunter–gatherers in North America. American Antiquity 78 (2), pp. 285-301.

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