To understanding connectivity patterms in human-landscape interactions, a multidirectional and multisituational concept of landscape transformation, socio-cultural development, and human response cycles needs to be considered. In this context, societal decision-making is controlled by the ecosystem’s functionality, the human perception, experience, memory, tradition, and the individual configuration of the landscape components: a conceptual framework that has been referred to as landscape affordances by James J. Gibson in the late 1970’s. In contrast to defining environmental components as passive resources, the concept of landscape affordances entails dynamic and processual feedbacks of an individual and the environment in the moment of mutual interaction – thus actively integrating human ingenuity in the production of landscapes, biological processes, and sociocultural entanglement through resilience development and adaptation processes.
In this context, building resilience and developing after hazards has been labelled “more is better” and in contrast to ecological resilience, this normative approach defines a value to the amount of resilience a system (or a person) can carry. Resilience is thought of something desirable that needs to be achieved through active participation in the process of preparation toward a potential or actual threat. However, the exact knowledge of how this threat could look like is not clearly defined as well as the exact starting and end point of the ‘process’ enabling an increase in resilience. This threshold represents an intrinsic barrier of applying resilience theory in archaeological research because past societes were never aware of the initial onset and the end of the actual ‘event’ – in which resilience could eventually be built and developed without immediate collapse of the affected system.
This lecture explores the potential of archaeological research to contribute to a modern and comprehensive (eco-)system understanding by the integration of past human adaptation strategies, land-use and landcover change, and the perception of and preparation to potential environmental and socio-cultural transformations. Because the modern world demonstrates a continuous adaptation of groups and individuals to past decision-making processes and prior ideas and human activities, archaeology can play a major part in facing future social, political, and ecological challenges – despite an increasing inertia in socio-political and economic counteracting and the inequality of the term resilience in the archaeological sciences.