Environmental Histories of the Ancient Mediterranean in Ten Objects
April 23, 2023 @ 2:00 pm EDT
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
AIA Society: Long Island
Lecturer: Catherine Kearns
The last decade has seen a flourishing of collaborative research on ancient environments, combining natural archives, scientific analyses, archaeological evidence, as well as texts and documents to reconstruct the interactions between humans, environments, and climates, and to understand their histories. In this talk, we will look at ten objects recovered from societies of the ancient Mediterranean that reveal and illustrate some of these discoveries. From sediment cores, to wood charcoal, to cisterns and storage jars, these ten things highlight the ways that physical materials shape human engagements with and perceptions of shifting and changing climates and ecologies. The selections introduce the social and political dimensions of these relationships, from the tools and spaces of working farmers to the worldviews and institutional control of elite statesmen, as well as the techniques scientists and archaeologists use to discern environmental change at multiple scales. These examples raise important questions on new research methods, concepts of heritage and conservation, as well as how archaeologists can contribute to broader discussions on the present and futures of human-environment relationships.