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Adaptation to variable environments, resilience to climate change: Investigating land, water and settlement in Indus Northwest India

Petrie, CA, Singh, RN, Bates, J, Dixit, Y, French, CAI, Hodell, DA, Jones, PJ ORCID: 0000-0002-4880-6711, Lancelotti, C, Lynam, F, Neogi, S, Pandey, AK, Parikh, D, Pawar, V, Redhouse, DI and Singh, DP 2017 , 'Adaptation to variable environments, resilience to climate change: Investigating land, water and settlement in Indus Northwest India' , Current Anthropology, vol. 58, no. 1 , pp. 1-30 , doi:

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This paper explores the nature and dynamics of adaptation and resilience in the face of a diverse and varied environmentaland ecological context using the case study of South Asia’s Indus Civilization (ca. 3000–1300 BC). Most earlycomplex societies developed in regions where the climatic parameters faced by ancient subsistence farmers were variedbut rain falls primarily in one season. In contrast, the Indus Civilization developed in a specific environmental contextthat spanned a very distinct environmental threshold, where winter and summer rainfall systems overlap. There is nowevidence to show that this region was directly subject to climate change during the period when the Indus Civilizationwas at its height (ca. 2500–1900 BC). The Indus Civilization, therefore, provides a unique opportunity to understandhow an ancient society coped with diverse and varied ecologies and change in the fundamental environmentalparameters. This paper integrates research carried out as part of the Land, Water and Settlement project in northwestIndia between 2007 and 2014. Although coming from only one of the regions occupied by Indus populations, these datanecessitate the reconsideration of several prevailing views about the Indus Civilization as a whole and invigoratediscussion about human-environment interactions and their relationship to processes of cultural transformation.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Petrie, CA and Singh, RN and Bates, J and Dixit, Y and French, CAI and Hodell, DA and Jones, PJ and Lancelotti, C and Lynam, F and Neogi, S and Pandey, AK and Parikh, D and Pawar, V and Redhouse, DI and Singh, DP
Keywords: climate change, archaeology, water management, climate adaptation, Indus Civilisation
Journal or Publication Title: Current Anthropology
Publisher: Univ Chicago Press
ISSN: 0011-3204
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research

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