Session: #297

Theme & Session Format

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

Title & Content

Modelling Complexity: Past Interactions between People, Climate and Environment [PaM]
Conveying a sense of place and measuring the importance of environmental services for people in the past are difficult tasks. Understanding the relationship between prehistoric human populations and the world around them requires the ability to reconstruct key aspects of the palaeoenvironment – from large-scale drivers of environmental conditions, such as climate, to more regional variables such as vegetation cover and faunal communities. Computational archaeology is leading the way in the study of past human-environment interactions across spatial and chronological scales. With the increased availability of high-resolution climate models, palaeoecological proxies and the mature use of GIS-aided ecological modelling, archaeologists working in interdisciplinary settings are well-positioned to explore the intersection of human systems and environmental affordances and constraints. These methodological advancements provide a better understanding of the role humans played in past ecosystems – both in terms of their impact upon the environment and, in return, the impact of environmental conditions on human systems. They may also allow us to infer past ecological knowledge and land-use patterns that are historically contingent, rather than environmentally determined. This session seeks contributions that combine reconstructions of past environments and archaeological data with a view to exploring their complex interactions at different scales and invites scholars from varying disciplines and backgrounds to present, compare and contrast different modelling approaches.
Prehistory, Modelling, Human population dynamics, Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, Computational archaeology, Palaeoclimate
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Main organiser:
Ariane Burke (Canada) 1,2
Felix Riede (Denmark) 3
1. Universite de Montreal
2. Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research
3. Aarhus University