Material manifestations of environmental change




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The proposed panel will discuss the topic of environmental change from an archaeological perspective. Environment, here, is understood in a wide sense including the climatic, political, and cultural environments of societies. In these environments changes occur over time due to innovations, trade, exchange, conflicts, geobiochemical processes, or disasters which interact with and transform societies and their structures. Looking at these changes from an archaeological perspective means observing them by studying the material remains of past societies which reflect environmental changes and transforming social structures for example through changing styles of ornaments, different imagery, materials, or practices or immediate traces of human behavior like destruction, abandonment, repair, or iconoclasm.

The reactions societies show and the transformations in structures give insight into how they deal with times of crises. The panel will discuss environmental change and possible transfers of adaptation and resilience strategies in ancient societies in zones of interaction between Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean by highlighting diverse geographic regions in different times: from ancient Greece, via Gandhara and the Roman empire to the empires of the Lombards and Umayyads, into the region of the Malay Peninsula and the empires of the Cham and Khmer in nowadays Vietnam and Cambodia.

This approach from different archaeologies aims at developing an interdisciplinary method to observe and analyse long-time developments of societies and their complex interdependencies with environments.