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Department of Archaeology

Climate Change and Human Society

Resilience, Impact and Perceptions in the Past and Present

Archaeological and interdisciplinary Perspectives

4th – 5th December 2015

Durham University, Department of Archaeology

Partly funded through the departmental Research Dialogues scheme (, which is intended to enhance and develop both the research environment within the Department and postgraduate involvement in Departmental research, several PhD students within the Department of Archaeology are organising an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference on climate change. This conference aims to bring together postgraduate researchers from different disciplines and emphasises the important role archaeology may play within current climate change debates.


How do changes in climate impact human societies? How do people perceive such changes? How do people adapt and respond to these changes? These questions apply to a wide academic audience - archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers and researchers within related disciplines – with a shared interest: the relationship between climate change and human societies.

The above questions are very important in the present day, attracting the interest of academics and policy makers alike. Yet they equally apply to the past; people throughout (pre)history have faced climate change and responded to it in various ways. An understanding of past climate change, its effects, and people’s responses to these can help build the resilience of communities facing climate change today (van de Noort 2013). Moreover, the impacts of climate change often exceed human experiences of time. Thus, in order to come to terms with climate change and its effects in the present, and find solutions to the challenges we face in the future, we need to consider the past as well.

This postgraduate conference aims to bring together PhD and early career researchers in archaeology and related disciplines across the sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities. An inter-disciplinary perspective, integrating various lines of evidence, provides the opportunity to examine the wider social and ecological relations between climate change and human society in the past, present and future. This interdisciplinary view will provide a long-term perspective on climate change, whilst also offering insights into its effects on a human scale.

Call for papers

We welcome abstracts from post-graduate and early career researchers working in a wide range of subject areas and accept papers relating to the following themes:

- The socio-political, cultural and economic impact of climate change on human societies

- Perceptions of climate change

- Adaptations and responses to climate change by human societies

- Archaeology’s role in the current climate change debates

If you would like to present on any of these topics, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to by the 25th of September 2015. Presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes in order to leave time for questions.

Conference Format

This one and half day postgraduate conference will open with a keynote lecture by Prof. Robert van der Noort (Reading University) on the 4th December, followed by a brief discussion. Papers will be presented on the 5th of December. Dr. Andrew Baldwin (Durham) will deliver a second key note lecture in the afternoon followed by a drinks reception and an optional dinner.

For more details on this conference, its format the programme and registration, please visit the conference website at:


Peter Brown (

Edward Treasure:

Floor Huisman: