Session: #462

Theme & Session Format

2. Pandemics and climate change: responses to global challenges
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Assessing the Impact of Major Climatic and/or Environmental Events on Human Culture and Subsistence
This session will examine the extent to which archaeologists can reconstruct the impact of major climatic and/or environmental events on humans and their environment and the extent to which past societies were able to respond, culturally and economically, to such changes during the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene. Sudden climatic events and weather extremes probably had significant societal impact, as they directly influence the food resources, plants and animals, upon which human livelihood depend. Climatic shifts and environmental change have the potential to be major drivers of societal change but this is poorly understood in practice. Additionally, both short-term catastrophic environmental disasters and long-term protracted and deep-seated climatic change may provoke different responses from different human societies. Major global environmental events such as the Preboreal Oscillation at 11.3 ka, the 8.2 ka cold event, the 4.2 ka aridification event and the 536 AD dust-veil event have been associated with cultural shifts in different regions worldwide. It is highly likely that there was variability in the extent to which different societies in different times and places were able to respond. Expression of such responses could be high mobility, relocations, large-scale abandonments, or adaptation and resilience. Cultural adaptation, however, is the most challenging to establish in the archaeological record. This session aims to bring together researchers who are interested in discussing how we can provide evidence-based data on past human adaptive strategies to climate/environmental change. This session is open for papers presenting various methodological approaches that use a multi-proxy approach to reconstruct past environmental impacts and the human cultural responses, from archaeology, archaeobotany, bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, geoarchaeology.
Environmental change, Climate change, Cultural human responses, Late Pleistocene, Holocene
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Main organiser:
Aikaterini Glykou (Sweden) 1
Kerstin Lidén (Sweden) 1
Olalla López-Costas (Spain) 2
Peter Jordan (Sweden) 3
Junzo Uchiyama (Japan) 4
1. Archaeological Research Laboratory, Stockholm University
2. EcoPast, Area of Archaeology, Dpto. History, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
3. Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University
4. Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, University of East Anglia and Center for Cultural Resource Studies, Kanazawa University