Douglas Forsyth (University of St. Andrews), “Social Strategies for Dealing with Scarce Precipitation; Examples from the Iron Age Cyclades”
This presentation will explore some of the ways in which past human societies have dealt with living in areas of scarce or low precipitation. The examination will focus primarily on archaeological evidence from the Iron Age Cycladic Islands, 1000-500 BCE, an area of relatively low precipitation. We will also consider as a counter point to Cycladic strategies, what the inhabitants of better watered Crete were doing during this same period. The climatological evidence will focus on large pattens of precipitation from the last glacial maximum circa 10,000 years before present to the end of the Hellenistic period with a particular focus on the Iron Age rather than shorter term micro-climate variability. The societal analysis is organized into five broad points to be considered in turn: location, development of trade surpluses, networks of exchange, water storage facilities, and consumption.