An Integrated Methodological Approach to Human-Environment Interaction in the Ancient Near East Using Archaeological Data
Dr. Lynn Welton, a candidate for the Assistant Professor Near Eastern Archaeology (CLTA) position
Over the past decade, climate change and its repercussions for modern society have become pervasive topics in the media and in general social discourse due to global uncertainty and anxiety about the future. The Middle East and North Africa region has been identified as a climate hotspot that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rising global temperatures, and several ongoing modern conflicts in the region have been linked to the effects of climate change. The Middle East, however, has a deep history of climate variability and nearly ten thousand years of agro-pastoral subsistence that we can draw upon to obtain a better understanding of how the impacts of these changes might be felt, and how they might be mitigated.
Studying the relationship between climate and human society in the past necessitates a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. In this talk, I will outline an integrated methodological framework for reconstructing the impacts of past climate variability that I have been developing under the umbrella of the CRANE project, describing the links between several inter-related research projects. The first of these projects is an ongoing program of climate modelling for the Middle East, whose preliminary results have already demonstrated significant implications for our understanding of past climate in the ancient Near East. I will summarize these results, and explore how this climate data can be interpreted in terms of its impact on day-to-day subsistence, and most particularly on agricultural productivity, using a combination of approaches. I will then discuss how agent-based modelling can be productively used as a tool for examining possible responses to climate variability, and will describe an agent-based model of ancient Near Eastern agriculture developed using archaeological and textual data. Finally, I will address the implications that this modelling effort has for understanding patterns of past Near Eastern land use and population dynamics.
To attend, click the zoom link on Thursday, August 19 at 2 PM
Meeting ID: 859 3421 7444