Our increased understanding of 'Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth' (Thomas 1956) is one of the key scientific achievements of the second half of the 20th century. Human activities now appropriate more than one third of the Earth's terrestrial ecosystem production, and between a third and a half of the land surface of the planet has been transformed by human development (Vitousek et al. 1997). Humans are inextricably embedded in all earth surface processes, and often dominate them. These findings are increasingly being recognised in political and policy spheres, most notably in contemporary debates about climate change (IPCC 2007). Peter Kershaw's work has been an influential component of this achievement, particularly in alerting us to a much longer potential timeframe of human entanglement through huntergatherer use of fire. He has forced us to think differently about cultural landscapes, and his research findings have persistently challenged the ideal of pristine wilderness.