LAS Faculty: Colin Wren, Department of Anthropology

Anthropogenic climate change is currently driving environmental transformation on a scale and at a pace that exceeds historical records. This represents an undeniably serious challenge to existing social, political, and economic systems. Humans have successfully faced similar challenges in the past, however. The archaeological record and Earth archives offer rare opportunities to observe the complex interaction between environmental and human systems under different climate regimes and at different spatial and temporal scales. The archaeology of climate change offers opportunities to identify the factors that promoted human resilience in the past and apply the knowledge gained to the present, contributing a much-needed, long-term perspective to climate research. One of the strengths of the archaeological record is the cultural diversity it encompasses, which offers alternatives to the solutions proposed from within the Western agro-industrial complex, which might not be viable cross-culturally. While contemporary climate discourse focuses on the importance of biodiversity, we highlight the importance of cultural diversity as a source of resilience.

The archaeology of climate change: The case for cultural diversity

How did we deal with past climate change events? Researchers are trying to find out

‘Archaeology of climate change’ aims to help plan response to environmental emergency
How ancient human reactions to upheavals such as the end of the ice age, could inform our future and strategy