Geohazards and Resilience Among Coastal Hunter Gathers in the UST-Kamchatsk Region, Kamchatka Peninsula (Russian Federation) During the Mid to Late Holocene
Korosec, Gregory Joseph
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The prehistoric inhabitants of the Ust-Kamchatsk region on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East faced repeated episodes of rapid ecosystem change in the form of volcanic tephra fall events. This dissertation utilizes a 6,000 year record of human settlement and environmental data produced by the ICAP Survey to explore ways in which populations responded and were resilient in the face of a challenging and highly unpredictable environment. The analysis focuses on the major Ksudach 1750 cal BP eruption as a possible inflection point in regional prehistory. The results are interpreted within a resilience theory framework to develop a socioecological model of regional settlement patterns. It is suggested that human populations were able to endure by virtue of low population densities, mobility, and the flexibility to exploit, when needed, a combination of riverine, terrestrial, and maritime subsistence strategies. Populations were aided in recovery by long range social connections imparted by the multiscalar socio-spatial organization of ethnic and kin groups on the landscape. In the longer term, populations were able to recover after major destabilizing events as a result of the high visibility of previous patterns and behaviors inscribed on the landscape. These inscriptions take the form of clustered dwelling depressions from periods preceding the destabilization that act as stabilizing mnemonics within and between adaptive cycles.