The Society for Historical Archaeology's 2000 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology will be held on January 4-9 in Québec City, Canada, under the theme Waterways and Landscapes.
Rivers often provided the easiest way to move inland and trade with new people and, where such natural routes did not exist or were not navigable, canals were frequently built. Changes to the landscape are most evident when they involve the built environment, but they are harder to detect when the physiography is not altered.
Landscape modifications can even be observed in areas where cultigens have been planted, since such activities alter certain aspects of the physical environment. The most devastating impact on environments can be seen in insular ecosystems where new plant and animal species have been introduced. Transferring landscape features to North America from Europe sometimes produced the desired effect whereas, in other instances, such initiatives were unsuccessful. Archaeology no longer focuses on individual sites in isolation, but on site systems and the transformation of landscapes subject to human influence. In order to explain our built environment, we use contextual archaeology to understand former environments, and through an array of techniques, we assess key variables that might have influenced the operation of cultural systems.