Session: #318

Theme & Session Format

Global change and archaeology
Session format:
Session with presentation of 6 slides in 6 minutes

Title & Content

Bending the Arc of History to a Low Carbon Future
The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 led to the historic Paris Agreement to limit global average temperature rise to 2C and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5C. According to the special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on limiting warming to 1.5C, released in October 2018, the world has no time to lose in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Further, while warming can still be limited to 1.5C, doing so will require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society.

The archaeological community has long appreciated the relationship between human activity and long term environmental change. Archaeologists are already responding to the severe threats to global cultural heritage posed by climate change and are often highly engaged in wider debates concerning impacts and adaptation. We have gathered data and stories of how past societies have responded to past climatic change and gained deep understandings of the origins of the modern socio-economic systems that have delivered modern anthropogenic climate change. But archaeology itself is suffering from a case of cognitive dissonance, as the field continues to expand practices such as carbon-intensive conferences and remote fieldwork (Reynolds 2018).

Transformational change is necessary within archaeology as part of the transition to a low-carbon economy. By rising to this challenge, we have an opportunity to provide leadership and act as an exemplar to the global community. This session will tackle the question of: how can the knowledge and practice of archaeology be used and transformed to effect rapid and ambitious decarbonization, within our discipline and beyond? Creative approaches and analyses will be welcome. And to make the session as low-carbon as possible, multiple avenues for remote presentation and participation will be explored (Skype, video, etc.).
climate change, decarbonization, mitigation, adaptation
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Main organiser:
Marcy Rockman (United States) 1
Mairi Davies (United Kingdom) 2
Natasha Reynolds (France) 3
Felix Riede (Denmark) 4
2. Historic Environment Scotland
3. UMR 5199 PACEA, Université de Bordeaux
4. University of Aarhus