Commentary by Dr. Don Hardesty

Dr. Hardesty, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada Reno, specializes in worldwide archaeology of the last 500 years. Here he offers examples showing how archaeology of the recent past can teach us how to avoid repeating our mistakes.

MP3 Windows Media Player


Recorded 21 November 2001

How long can we continue the current mode of worldwide resource exploitation and ecological disruption without undermining the natural systems on which we depend? We believe that examination of the human past can yield clues to guide humanity toward a sustainable future.

As a contribution to the global discussion of this critical problem, we have invited a series of archaeologists researching the matter to submit Audio Commentaries about the lessons that archaeology may offer today's world. In this way, we hope to promote a dialogue that will encourage further archaeological research with applications to this and other modern problems.

Our second Audio Commentary on sustainability is by Dr. Don Hardesty of the University of Nevada Reno. Dr. Hardesty has specialized in the archaeological study of the modern world, that is, the last 500 years of human history. We offer our sincere thanks to Dr. Hardesty for sharing his thoughts.

About Don Hardesty

Don Hardesty is an archaeologist who studies the modern world of the last 500 years. He completed M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology at the University of Oregon. His graduate studies focused on human evolution and the ancient civilizations of the New World, including a master's thesis on Moche ceramics of the Peruvian north coast and a doctoral dissertation on human ecology. He has done archaeological fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, the American Southeast, and extensively throughout the American West. Presently, he is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches classes ranging from historical archaeology to ecological anthropology and museology. He has been president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Mining History Association, and the Register of Professional Archaeologists. His publications include Ecological Anthropology (John Wiley, 1977), The Archaeology of the Donner Party (University of Nevada Press, 1997), and (with Barbara Little) Assessing Site Significance: A Guide for Archaeologists and Historians (AltaMira Press, 2000). At present, he is the archaeology theme editor for the UNESCO-sponsored Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.

Contact Information:

E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum (City of Alexandria)

Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology

Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology

Death Valley National Park

Environmental Archaeology Links (Association for Environmental Archaeology)

Society for Industrial Archeology

Jamestown Rediscovery

Society for Historical Archaeology

University of Capetown [South Africa] Historical Archaeology Research Group

University of Nevada Reno

Urban Archaeology (Yahoo! Directory)

Urban archaeology at Five Points (New York)