On Friday, November 15, Raven Garvey, assistant professor of anthropology and assistant curator at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan, will present the third of four talks in the Roy A. Rappaport Lecture Series in the Forum Hall at Palmer Commons on the U-M central campus.

In Friday’s talk, “The Mysterious Middle Holocene,” Garvey discusses possible reasons for Patagonia’s sparse middle Holocene archaeological record. She points out that the middle Holocene (8000 to 4000 years ago) was characterized by increased temperatures and prolonged droughts in several world regions, including Patagonia. As in other affected areas, there are gaps in Patagonia’s archaeological record coincident with middle Holocene droughts. This is often interpreted in terms of population decline, particularly since much of Patagonia is arid even in non-drought years. Garvey presents data that indicate middle Holocene droughts may not have had a negative effect—and perhaps even had a positive one—on foraging efficiency in Patagonia, and that population decline is not the most likely explanation for the gaps in the region’s archaeological record.

The four lectures in the series are based on Garvey’s book manuscript, Patagonian Prehistory: Human Ecology and Cultural Evolution in the Land of Giants.

The lecture will be held at 3 p.m. The last lecture is on December 6. The Rappaport lectures are free and open to the public.