Using energy consumption as a measure, a team of international scientists has found that ancient civilizations engaged in globalization more than previously believed, suggesting that an integrated global economy is nothing new and may have benefited societies for ages.
This archaeological research is the first of its kind, because instead of focusing on specific regions or cultures, it used radiocarbon dating to examine human societies on a broader and longer-term scale.
The findings are the result of a study co-authored by Jacopo A. Baggio, an assistant professor in the University of Central Florida political science department, and published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research team included lead author Jacob Freeman, an assistant professor of archaeology at Utah State University, and Erick Robinson, a postdoctoral assistant research scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming
The researchers found that societies often experienced booms and busts simultaneously, a process known as synchrony.
They used radiocarbon dating and historical records to measure energy consumption through a period of history ranging from about 10,000 to 400 years ago, a time frame that encompasses a large portion of the current Holocene era.