The human landscape is an active, fluid terrain that is generated by dynamic interactions between the natural environment, the needs and perception of people and their social lives. Constantly evolving in response to and in anticipation of shifts in climate, resource availability, social organization, economic systems, and political structures, the human landscape is negotiated and shaped by adaptations and innovations in the material culture and exploitation strategies used by people to realise their goals. This Cluster explores how individuals, households, and communities adapt to evolving human landscapes while maintaining agency and intentionality. The role of innovation in the adaptive process and as moments of singular invention in the transformation of human landscapes may also be closely examined within this Cluster.
The themes of adaptation and innovation involve analyses of the material remnants produced by humans in order to isolate the economic, social, and political strategies people use to adapt and innovate within the built human environment. Materials that record adaptive and innovative behaviours include artefactual, plant, animal, sedimentary, and human remains, as well as historical textual sources. Within this Cluster, a variety of analytical approaches are used to extract information about these behaviours from the material culture record. These approaches range from material analyses in fields such as Archaeobotany, Archaeozoology, and techno-typological analyses of lithics and ceramics, to molecular level analyses such as aDNA, organic molecules, stable isotopes, trace elements, and radiometric dating.