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.
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.