The Geoarchaeology of Mediterranean Islands
Multidisciplinary approaches to paleoenvironmental changes and the history of the human occupation in the Mediterranean islands since the Last Glacial Maximum
Dates : June 30 to July 02, 2015
Location : Centre de congrès CNRS de Cargèse (Corse, Corsica, France)
Official Languages : English and French
Aims of the colloquium: Situated between Europe, Africa and Asia, Mediterranean islands display unique palaeoenvironements and patterns of human occupation. Their physical properties (relief, coastal morphology, vegetation, etc.) are the long-term result of complex geological, tectonic, climatic and eustatic changes. In some cases, the current location and configuration of Mediterranean islands was dramatically different in the Pleistocene and even in the Early Holocene: Corsica and Sardinia, for example, until relatively recently formed a single island, and similar cases are found in the Tuscan archipelago, as well as the islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas.
During the Epipaleolithic and the Neolithic, the shapes of the island coastlines and valley profiles have varied widely because of several natural factors, but also on account of the anthropogenic impacts on insular environments. The chronology, character, and scale of initial island colonization in the Mediterranean, continue to be the major topics of scientific debate, as are subsequent human impacts through time.
By adopting a multidisciplinary approach, this colloquium aims to combine different approaches from the humanities, social sciences, and geosciences in order to assess long-term patterns of human-environmental interactions on Mediterranean islands during the Late Quaternary (the last 25 000 years).
Presentations should combine archaeological and (palaeo) environmental data. We encourage presenters to adopt comparative approaches between sites and regions for understanding crucial periods and key themes of research concerning the Mediterranean islands. Some possible examples include: Neolithic (or earlier) colonization of islands in the context of rapid sea- level changes (vertical and lateral); human settlement and its response to climate and vegetation change, and the environmental impact of agricultural practices in prehistoric and historic periods.
A session of the colloquium will be dedicated to the study of Ancient agriculture by adopting a geoarchaeological approach. Geographers, geologists, geomorphologists, archaeologists, historians and palaeoecology experts will discuss the results from different case studies chosen across the Mediterranean and will debate the consequences of the evolution of agricultural practices during prehistorical and historical periods on ancient economies. This empiric approach is a central issue in the current debate about sustainable development in the fragile environmental context of the Mediterranean islands.