Human activity became a major player of global environmental and climatic change in the course of the late Quaternary. Consequently, to understand these changes the study of former human-environmental interactions at different spatial and temporal scales is mandatory. Geoarchaeology is a cross-disciplinary discipline at the interface between all subjects of geosciences (e. g. geomorphology, geology, climatology etc.) and archaeology that addresses this issue by integrating a multitude of concepts and methods from these disciplines when investigating former human-environmental interactions from local site-specific to regional scales. Doing so, the human society in context of culture and the hydroclimate-environment nexus over time will be better understood. Documenting the diversity of human responses and adaptations to climate, landscapes, ecosystems, disasters and the changing natural resources availability in different regions of our planet provides valuable opportunities to learn from the past. During the last years the field of geoarchaeology rapidly evolved, and numerous studies were carried out in different regional and cultural contexts. However, several main challenges remain, such as e. g. different temporal resolutions of geological and archaeological chronologies, difficulties to disentangle environmental from human-related triggers of sudden environmental and societal change, generally incomplete archaeological records or irrecoverably destroyed living environments especially of Palaeolithic cultures due to postsedimentary geomorphic processes. Besides new analytical methods, innovative concepts and a closer interdisciplinary collaboration are necessary to make a step forward with respect to these challenges.
This session aims to pool interdisciplinary contributions from the large field of earth (e.g. geology, geomorphology, geochronology, geomorphometry, sedimentology, biogeosciences) and archaeological (e.g. archaeobotany, archaeozoology, archaeometry, paleoanthropology) sciences that address the reconstruction of former human-environmental interactions from the Palaeolithic period until the Anthropocene. Besides case studies, especially methodology, modelling and conceptual contributions are welcome in this session.
Sallie Burrough (Oxford University): Salt, mud and stones: Unpicking archaeological landscapes in the southern African interior