Seeking a Richer Harvest

The Archaeology of Subsistence Intensification, Innovation, and Change

  • Tina L. Thurston
  • Christopher T. Fisher

Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Tina L. Thurston, Christopher T. Fisher
    Pages 1-21
  3. Jeffrey L. Baker
    Pages 63-90
  4. Charles D. Frederick
    Pages 107-124
  5. Belinda H. Monahan
    Pages 141-153
  6. Tina L. Thurston
    Pages 155-191
  7. Sophia Perdikaris, Thomas H. McGovern
    Pages 193-216
  8. Sibel B. Kusimba, Chapurukha M. Kusimba
    Pages 217-233
  9. Kathleen D. Morrison
    Pages 235-247
  10. Tina L. Thurston, Christopher T. Fisher
    Pages 249-259
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 261-273

About this book


Subsistence intensification, innovation and change have long figured prominently in explanations for the development of social complexity among foragers and horticulturalists, and the rise of chiefly societies and archaic states, yet there is considerable debate over the actual mechanisms that promote these processes. Traditional approaches to the "intensification question" emphasize population pressure, climate change, bureaucratic management, or even land degradation as prerequisites for the onset of new or changing strategies, or the construction and maintenance of agricultural landscapes. Most often these factors are modeled as external forces outside the realm of human decision-making, but recent archaeological research presents an alternative to this suggesting that subsistence intensification is the result of human driven strategies for power, prestige and status stemming from internal conditions within a group. When responding to environmental adversity, human groups were less frequently the victims, as they have been repeatedly portrayed. Instead human groups were often vigorous actors, responding with resilience, ingenuity, and planning, to flourish or survive within dynamic and sometimes unpredictable social and natural milieux.


Agriculture Archaic period in North America Neolithic Protohistoric Agropastoral System Subsistence Intensification agricultural intensification archaic states environment evolution forager horticulturalist landscape mayans

Editors and affiliations

  • Tina L. Thurston
    • 1
  • Christopher T. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySUNY BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Bibliographic information