Session: #91

Theme & Session Format

Archaeology of mountainous landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Bioarchaeological Approaches to Understanding the Long-term Development of Mountain Societies
The last ten years have seen significant developments in archaeological science, more specifically within Bioarchaeology and palaeoenvironmental science (aDNA, isotopes, proteomics, lipid analyses etc.). Within mountain archaeology, these innovative methodologies have started to transform our understanding of the complex networks of economic and cultural activities, the mobility of people and animals and thereby, the web of human-environment interactions that operated across different temporal and spatial scales.
Prior to the emergence of these techniques, research across the higher altitudinal zones, in particular, was limited, due, in part to assumptions and preconceptions that characterised mountain areas in general and especially the higher altitudes as zones of marginal importance. Research projects that developed during the 1990s and 2000s have changed our understanding of mountain landscapes. More recently, the emergence of new bioarchaeological techniques has greatly facilitated our ability to engage with complex questions and theoretical nature relating to mobility, variations in diet and economy, heterogeneous landscape trajectories. In this session, we hope to consider how these methods inform our understanding of a wide range of human practices and activities in mountain environments: from the development of short and long-distance transhumance, mining, trade and exchange, human mobility and changes in diet and health. In addition, we wish to consider how these activities, combined with the complex phases of climatic change, affected mountain environments. We aim to attract contributions from colleagues who work within in both low altitude/valley-bottom zones as well as those researching the higher-altitudinal areas.

This session will aim to involve colleagues working in mountain ranges. Although our aim is to consider the application of bioarchaeological methodologies, as suggested above, we also wish to include contributions that deal with theoretical frameworks that address issues relating to human and animal mobility, socio-ecological trajectories, and the evolution of environmental knowledge in mountain environments.
bioarchaeology, mobility, mountains, aDNA, landscape archaeology, isotopes
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Kevin Walsh () 1
Charline Giguet-Covex (France) 2
Kerstin Kowarik (Austria) 3
Florence Mocci (France) 4
Juliette Knockaert (United Kingdom) 1
1. Dept of Archaeology University of York
2. EDYTEM CNRS/Université de Savoie
3. Naturhistorisches Museum 1010 Wien
4. Centre Camille Jullian UMR 7299 CNRS/Univ Aix-Marseille