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Article contents

Environmental thresholds and the empirical reality of state collapse: a response to Erickson (1999)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Alan L. Kolata
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago IL 60637, USA a-kolata@uchicago.edu
Michael W. Binford
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611, USA mbinford@geog.ufl.edu
Mark Brenner
Affiliation:
Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32653, USA brenner@ufl.edu
John W. Janusek
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235 USA john.w.janusek@vanderbilt.edu
Charles Ortloff
Affiliation:
Corporate Technology Center/United Defense, 1205 Coleman Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95052, USA charles_ortloff@udlp.com

Extract

We are grateful for the opportunity to respondto Erickson's (1999) critique of our articles onhuman-environment interactions in the LakeTiticaca basin of Bolivia (Ortloff & Kolata 1993;Abbott et al. 1997; Binford et al. 1997). Hisdecision to publish this critique in ANTIQUITY,rather than in the journals in which our articlesappeared, permits us to reach a broaderaudience. Erickson labels our interpretationsa form of 'neo-environmental determinism', buthis rejection of our conclusions stems fromserious misunderstandings and is misleadingto readers who have not examined our originaldata. He (p. 634) claims:1 our research represents 'simplistic reductionistthinking' that treats humans as 'passivepawns' of environmental change;2 our dating of the chronic drought in the Andeanaltiplano after AD 1150 is impreciseand not correlated with the 12th-centurydisintegration of the Tiwanaku state; and3 the drought did not affect intensive agriculturalproduction.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd. 2000

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References

Abbott, M., Binford, M. Brenner, M. & Kelts, K.. 1997. A3,500 14 C yr high-resolution sediment record of lake level changes in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru, Quaternary Research 47(2): 16980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Biesboer, D., Binford, M. & Kolata, A.. 1999. Nitrogen fixation in soils and canals of rehabilitated raised fields in the Bolivian altiplano, Biotropica 31: 25567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Kolata, A. & Ortloff, C.. 1996. Agroecological perspectives on the decline of the Tiwanaku state, in Kolata, A. (ed.), Tiwanaku and its hinterland: archaeology and paleoecology of an Andean civilization 1:181202. Washington (DC): Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
Ortloff, C. & Kolata, A. 1993. Climate and collapse: agroecological perspectives on the decline of the Tiwanaku state, Journal of Archaeological Science 20: 195221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wirmann, D. & Oliveira Almeida, L.F.. 1987. Low Holocene level (7700 to 3650 years B.P.) of Lake Titicaca (Bolivia, South America), Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 59:31523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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