Session: #339

Theme & Session Format

5. Climate Change and Socioenvironmental Perspectives
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

"More than Just Bones” - Understanding Past Human Adaption and Behaviour through the Study of Human Remains
The human lifespan is fraught with environmental, physical, and psychosocial challenges that create a dynamic interaction between us and the highly variable ecologies, socioeconomic and political surroundings. Though all human beings share a genetic makeup, the different environmental cues produce a range of variations in their reaction. The response can be encoded genetically, but cultural systems can also influence the adaptation to new life strategies or the changing environment and can lead to new habits to overcome different health challenges. Consequently, we need a biocultural approach to understand that stress can initiate a series of behavioral and cultural countering responses. In this regard, ancient human remains serve as an important complement to paleoclimate, historical, and archaeological approaches understanding environmental changes which we may expect also as modern humans.
This session intends to explore how socio-environmental changes manifest and shaped past health and behaviour.
The contributors intend to examine how certain bioarchaeological data (mortality, pathological traits, funerary customs) can indicate certain changes in life quality or behavioural transformations like interpersonal relations, resource use or child-rearing.
How can different scientific fields contribute to the exploration of these questions from the recovery of bones in the field to the evaluation of data produced by analytical laboratory methods?
We would welcome case studies or comparative interdisciplinary research which focus on the dead to provide insights into a past society or a historical era.
human remains, bioarchaeology, paleopathology, archaeothanatology, mortuary activity
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Main organiser:
Orsolya László-Mateovics (Hungary) 1
Tamás Hajdu (Hungary) 2
Mario Novak (Croatia) 3
Ivor Janković (Croatia) 3
1. Hungarian National Museum
2. Department of Anthropology, Eötvös Loránd University
3. Centre for Applied Bioanthropology, Institute for Anthropological Research