Questioning Rebound

People and Environmental Change in the Protohistoric and Early Historic Americas

The extent of human impact on world environments is undeniable. At scales ranging from local to global, investigations continue to demonstrate that the ecosystems to which we currently belong are structured by human behavior. Catastrophic events such as war, disaster, disease, or economic decay have, at various times throughout history, led to the human abandonment of particular environments. What happens to a human-structured environment when the manner in which people use it abruptly changes? In Questioning Rebound, authors Emily Lena Jones and Jacob L. Fisher explore the archaeological record of the Americas during the period immediately following European contact, a time when the human footprint on the land abruptly shifted. During this era of disease-driven mortality, genocide, incarceration, and forced labor of Indigenous peoples, American landscapes changed in fundamental ways, producing short-lived ecosystems that later became the basis of myths regarding the natural state of environments across the Americas.

Questioning Rebound explores the record and the causes of environmental change during the period following European contact, featuring case studies throughout the Americas. While both the record for and the apparent causes of the changes in the human footprint vary, the record of post- contact environmental change consistently reflects the impacts of past social upheaval.

Emily Lena Jones is associate professor of anthropology and faculty associate of the Latin American and Iberian Institute and Center for Stable Isotopes at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of In Search of the Broad Spectrum Revolution in Paleolithic Southwest Europe. She studies past human-environment interactions through the lens of archaeological animal remains, with a particular interest in the connections between humans, non-human animals, and environmental change.

Jacob L. Fisher is professor of anthropology and director of the Archaeological Curation Facility at California State University, Sacramento. His interests primarily lie in the role animal resources played in foraging-based societies with secondary research goals in conservation paleobiology and historical ecology.

Table of Contents:

List of Figures 
List of Tables 

1. Questioning Rebound: Placing the Protohistoric in the Context of Anthropogenic Environmental Change 
Jacob L. Fisher and Emily Lena Jones
2. The “Pristine Myth,” Post-Columbian Environmental Rebound, and Multicausality 
Emily Lena Jones
3. Apocalypse Then: Searching for Faunal Rebound in the Post-Contact West Indies 
Christina M. Giovas
4. Animales Salvaje y Domésticos: The Environmental Consequences of Spanish Colonization in the Maya Region 
Asia Alsgaard and Emily Lena Jones
5. Late Holocene Environmental Rebound in Northwest Patagonia: Zooarchaeological, Stable Isotope, Radiocarbon, and Ancient DNA Evidence 
Gustavo Neme, Cinthia Abbona, Adolfo Gil, Clara Otaola, Jeff A. Johnson, Lisa Nagaoka, and Steve Wolverton
6. Rebound of Fire Regimes in the Dry Forests and Woodlands of the Southwest U.S.A., AD1200–1900 
Christopher I. Roos, Thomas W. Swetnam, and Matthew J. Liebmann
7. The Evidence for Wildlife Irruptions in Protohistoric California 
Jacob L. Fisher
8. Ecological Shifts and Anthropogenic Burning in Central California, AD1250–2000 
Anna Klimaszewski-Patterson
9. Environmental Rebound and the Disruption of Indigenous Land Management following European Colonization of Southern New England 
Elic M. Weitzel
10. Disease, Social Injustice, and Historical Ecology: Reflections on Archaeology and Environmental Rebounds 
Torben Rick

List of Contributors

Praise and Reviews:

Questioning Rebound considers the environmental implications of rebound through an excellent assortment of case studies and reviews from various regions across the Americas. This book makes an important contribution to the field and relates well to other scholarship regarding Americanist archaeology as a whole."
—Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch, University of Georgia