Session: #533

Theme & Session Format

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Bioarchaeological Approaches towards Understanding the Impact of Different Forms of Crises on Human Lifeways
Throughout human history, cycles of growth and decline have succeeded one another. Periods of turbulence, hardship or even destitution – e.g. the end of the Late Bronze Age in South-Eastern Europe, the Fall of Roman Empire, the Justinian Plague, the Mayan Collapse, the Great Irish Famine, the Great Recession in the United States of America, the Dutch Famine - are manifestations of different forms of crises. Brought about by climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, socio-economic decline, political turbulence or wars/conflict, these periods of change and upheaval elicit diverse cultural and biological responses. Aiming to better comprehend the complex and varied responses to crisis and change throughout human history, this session brings together scholars from a range of bioarchaeological sub-disciplines to explore the impact of different forms of crises on human lifeways as expressed through funerary practices, health, diet, mobility, subsistence strategies and activity patters. We invite case studies using interdisciplinary approaches to address research questions related but not confined to: 1) the dual role of human mobility as a possible cause but also a response to change and crisis, 2) the interaction of cultural and environmental factors as a cause of hardship and destitution, 3) the impact of crisis on gender relations and social organization and 4) cultural resilience and socio-economic responses to health crises. Throughout, we will consider how biocultural responses of crises in the past can inform us about challenges we face in the world today.
bioarchaeology, biomolecular analyses, funerary record, interdisciplinarity
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Main organiser:
Dimitra Michael (Greece) 1
Linda Fibiger (United Kingdom) 2,1
1. School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Ireland
2. School of History, Classics & Archaeology, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom