Session: #325

Theme & Session Format

1. Artefacts, Buildings & Ecofacts
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Tracing the History of Mediterranean Human-Environmental Systems Using Biomolecular Methods
The Mediterranean basin lies at the crossroads of three continents. Throughout its rich history, it has been the stage for a succession of political and socioeconomic organisations, the intermixing of ethnic groups, and the emergence and spread of cultural practices intertwined with heterogeneous environmental conditions. This makes the Mediterranean region fertile ground for the study of complex human-environment relationships.
During the past decade, there has been a spectacular rise in the use of biomolecular methods within Mediterranean archaeology. These have been employed to study paleoenvironmental conditions and to reconstruct various aspects of past human lifeways and socioeconomic activities. Multiple case studies using isotopic, proteomics, ancient DNA, and ZooMS biomolecular methods plus their combinations have showcased the immense research potential that these offer to the study of Mediterranean history. The increasing availability of sizable datasets is allowing for Big Data meta-analyses that offer insights into diachronic and regional variations. There is also a growing pursuit, extendable to other archaeological contexts, for wider employment of analytical and modelling techniques that allow for higher resolution descriptions of past phenomena (e.g., compound-specific isotopic analyses, Bayesian modelling, etc.). The future of biomolecular methods in Mediterranean archaeology is assured and important developments in our historical knowledge provided by these should be anticipated.
In this session, we aim to offer an up-to-date overview of the use of biomolecular methods in the study of the relationships between past societies and the Mediterranean ecosystem. We welcome both contributions that introduce methodological improvements employable within Mediterranean contexts and the presentation of case studies.
Mediterranean, Biomolecular Archaeology, Human Lifeways, Subsistence Practices, Resource Management, Human-Environmental Systems
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Main organiser:
Carlo Cocozza (Italy) 1,2
Silvia Soncin (Italy) 3
Mary Anne Tafuri (Italy) 3
Ricardo Fernandes (Germany) 1,4,5
1. Max Planck Institute for GeoAnthropology
2. Università della Campania
3. Università di Roma
4. Princeton University
5. Masaryk University