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Keywords:

  • global change;
  • paleoecology;
  • archaeology;
  • impacts

[1] Global Climate Change and the Polar Archaeological Record; Tromsø, Norway, 15–16 February 2011; A workshop was held at the Institute of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Tromsø, in Norway, to catalyze growing concern among polar archaeologists about global climate change and attendant threats to the polar archaeological and paleoecological records. Arctic archaeological sites contain an irreplaceable record of the histories of the many societies that have lived in the region over past millennia. Associated paleoecological deposits provide powerful proxy evidence for paleoclimate and ecosystem structure and function and direct evidence of species diversity, distributions, and genetic variability. Archaeological records can span most of the Holocene (the past ∼12,000 years), depending upon location, and paleoecological records extend even further. Most are largely unstudied, and, although extremely vulnerable to destruction, they are poorly monitored and not well protected. Yet these records are key to understanding how the Arctic has functioned as a system, how humans were integrated into it, and how humans may have shaped it. Such records provide a wide range of data that are not obtainable from sources such as ice and ocean cores; these data are needed for understanding the past, assessing current and projecting future conditions, and adapting to ongoing change.