Share on Facebook
 
 
 
Share on Twitter
 
 
 
Share on Google Plus
 
 
 
Share on Pinterest
 
 
 
 
 
 
Resilience vs. Collapse in the Eastern Asian Dryland-Steppe Belt: Historic and Archaeological Perspectives on Responses to Climatic Anomalies
 
 
 
 

Resilience vs. Collapse in the Eastern Asian Dryland-Steppe Belt: Historic and Archaeological Perspectives on Responses to Climatic Anomalies

 
Prof. Gideon Shelach-Lavi
 
Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
 
 

Over more than three millennia pastoral-nomadic groups developed various modes of adaptation to cope with the diverse ecological niches that comprises the vast area of the Eastern Asian dryland-steppe belt. Those methods combined optimal exploitation of the environment and risk management thorough economic diversification that included animal herding, opportunistic agriculture, hunting and collecting of natural resources. They also include different types of mobility from local short distance seasonal movements to, sometime, long range relocations. It is clear that on the subsistence level those adaptation methods provided high level of resilience that enabled the individual family groups to overcome even severe climatic induced ecologic stress. Thus, on this subsistence level it is fair to say that 'resilience' rather than 'collapse' is the main characteristic of the regional history. However, on the higher political level of organization, this region, which include present day Mongolia and parts of North China and South Siberia, is often characterized by the rapid rise and equally rapid collapse of political entities. In recent years many have suggested that those political fluctuations are the direct reflection of amelioration and deterioration of climatic conditions or of specific drastic climatic anomalies that induce the socio-political change. In this paper I will use concrete historic and archaeologic data from China and Mongolia to try and connect the two levels of adaptation and reaction to climatic conditions: the family-based adaptation level and the regional-scale political organization. I am specifically focusing on the mediaeval period (10th to 14th century) and examine the development in of societies in the dryland-steppe belt in their wider regional context, including the interaction between pastoral-nomadic and sedentary agriculturalist populations.

_____

The full presentation - click the picture