This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides an overview of health and disease in the context of climate and environmental change over the past 10,000 years, describing bioarchaeological insights on these issues from the published literature spanning the past decade. It focuses on climate-induced resource stress in four arid regions of the world—the Atacama Desert, the steppes and desert biomes of the Hexi Corridor in Northwest China, Medieval Iceland, and the Nile Valley in Egypt. The book investigates human biocultural adaptations to resource stress and environmental instability in human populations that occupied that Atacama Desert from 3500 to 1500 years ago. It considers a small-scale society in a very different kind of arid landscape, with a consideration of human groups that lived in small farmsteads of Viking Iceland from the 10th to the 11th century AD.