Session: #282

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Systemic Approaches to Agricultural and Land Use Change in Prehistoric Societies. Part 2
Farming practices are embedded within a complex and inter-dependant system that involves crops and livestock and their management, soils, the environment and climate, as well as social and land-use dynamics. Changes in agricultural practices are therefore never simple or easy to track, but archaeobotanical and archaeozoological data generated over the past few decades informs us that they took place, sometimes at a very broad scale. The question we would like to address in this session is: what drove agricultural changes and innovations in prehistory, when farming practices were mostly locally rooted and depended largely on household level decision-making and what were their social and ecological consequences?
Archaeology has the ability to tackle this complex network of processes and consequences by interlinking multiple proxies that can be evaluated independently, combined and contrasted with multiple sources of information. This session welcomes papers that deal with all types of archaeological proxies that are combined with data on agricultural dynamics at the local, regional or supra-regional scale to understand the scale of agricultural change, innovation and productivity, as well as the effects on social and ecological systems, including land cover and land use change. We particularly welcome multi-proxy and systemic approaches to the understanding of agricultural decision-making in the past.
This session is supported by the AgriChange Project (, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P1_170515) and the LandUse6k working group of PAGES (
archaeobotany, archaeozoology, archaeoentomology, palaeoenvironment, human-environment interaction, multi-proxy analysis
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Main organiser:
Ferran Antolin (Germany) 1,2
Nicki Whitehouse (United Kingdom) 3,4
1. Integrative Prehistory and Archaeological Science (IPNA/IPAS), University of Basel (Switzerland)
2. Deparment of Natural Sciences, German Archaeological Institute (Germany)
3. Archaeology, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK
4. School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University, UK