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Geoarchaeology: Human-environment interactions in the Pleistocene and Holocene
Convener: Sjoerd Kluiving  | Co-Conveners: Andy Howard , Maurits Ertsen , Tony Brown , Wiebke Bebermeier 
 / Thu, 16 Apr, 10:30–12:00  / 13:30–15:00
 / Attendance Thu, 16 Apr, 17:30–19:00

The majority of natural scientists now believe that proxy environmental data is demonstrating significant anthropogenic changes to contemporary global climates, which in turn, is affecting landscape system thresholds and altering the spatial pattern, intensity and magnitude of geomorphological processes. Geoarchaeology can approach these questions of human causality, environmental resilience and sustainability from a medium to long-term perspective and this has the critical advantage that it can, implicitly or explicitly, include consideration of the feedback associated with these changes on human socio-cultural systems.

The aim of this session is to highlight how geoarchaeologists, geologists, soil scientists, archaeologists and social scientists can contribute to debates concerning human-environment interactions spanning the Pleistocene and the Holocene. This session welcomes papers from individuals or groups that use geoarchaeological approaches to consider past landscape evolution, geomorphological processes and system response. We also welcome papers on human niche construction that will focus on the two directional nature of the interactions between material environment and social arrangements, in order to capture work that examines how humans change their environment, and how subsequent environmental changes alter societal functioning. The concept of niche construction stresses that organisms (read: humans) – in changing their selective environment – change themselves over the long term.

We encourage synergies in a diachronic understanding of landscape histories from the Pleistocene to the Holocene, and invite contributions that address socio-cultural transitions as well as the effects of natural forcing. The organisers encourage presentations involving the collection of data using both empirical approaches as well as insights gained through modelling. Understanding human response at both an individual and societal level is of paramount importance to this session and we welcome contributions that:
a) apply an interdisciplinary approach to solve archaeological questions
b) focus on how humans responded to (non-)anthropogenic environmental change, e.g. climate events
c) integrate environmental and cultural evidence to reflect on decision making processes as well as on academic research agenda’s.
d) provide empirical evidence for co-evolving social/economic arrangements and landscapes as environmental systems – e.g. studies that take a historical or archaeological approach, or
e) use social science methods to assess how communities/societies create and respond to environmental change.

This session is supported by the IAG - International Working Group on Geoarchaeology.

Marie José Gaillard (Linnaeus University, Sweden): ‘The potential of quantitative vegetation reconstructions in studies of past human settlements and use of resources’ (confirmed)