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International Workshop : ‘Mediterranean Holocene Climate and Human Societies’

Background and Aims :

Holocene climate reveals notable changes in the Mediterranean region. The region also bears a long history of human society dynamics, making it a suitable site to explore interactions between climate, environment and human activity over a variety of time scales. However, data documenting climate events as well as the human history are still ambiguous to ascertain firm links between large-scale atmospheric circulation, regional climate changes and local human society evolution. This multi-disciplinary workshop will follow a two-fold approach : a paleoclimatic approach addressing the events, severity, rate and duration of past climatic changes, and an archaeological-historical approach addressing the dynamics of past societies. We aim at a better knowledge of both the drivers behind climate system and behind the coupled society-climate system including its ensuing response and adaptation, in order to understand human capability in readjusting into a changing environment. Further aim is to identify strategies for acquiring the information needed to progress our understanding of the global/Mediterranean climate linkages and their interaction with human societies. This may include recommendations for an integrated research effort on the Holocene Mediterranean climate-human societies system, targeting on data production from multiple proxy records in key-regions and at key-periods and the development of new modelling approaches to optimize interpretation of paleodata, reduce uncertainties and develop an integrated data/model approach to describe the evolution of human societies in response to climate and environmental changes.

workshop themes :

1. Does climate matter for societies ? What is the “real” evidence for causation and do we have cases with detailed enough data and methodologies on both the physical and the social sides ?

2. Can we identify societies sustainable to climate “crisis” ? What made those societies sustainable, i.e. can we identify suitable adaptation strategies to the impacts of climate change ?

3. And those societies that did not survive, what were the factors that caused or contributed to their collapse ?

4. Where are the knowledge gaps and how could we initiate proposals for future research and networking that better address those interdisciplinary issues ?

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