In recent years, not least through tree-ring studies for the Holocene and studies of oxygen isotope ratios in Foramenifera in deep-sea cores for the Pleistocene, both linked with radioactive chronometry, useful and well-dated information has become available for global temperature variations. Yet we seem at present little closer to understanding the climatic influences upon human settlement, or upon such major episodes in human existence as the agricultural revolution or the emergence of pastoral economies. In making reference to the developments in archaeological survey techniques over the past 20 years, and the increasing collaboration with geomorphologists and settlement geographers, I seek to highlight the gap in the chain of argument between data for global climatic parameters and impact on human communities. Where are the phytologists, the ecologists, the crop plant geographers? Where is the necessary focus upon the crucial themes of changing microclimates and changing agricultural productivity for specific species? An attempt is made to define more closely this deficiency.