Professor Amy Bogaard (University of Oxford), ‘Crops, climate change and COPing strategies: Some lessons from prehistory’
Abstract: Recent bioarchaeological research in the Aegean and beyond is revealing how remarkably diverse and dynamic early farming systems were. Even under relatively stable and favourable climatic conditions, early farmers hedged their bets by maintaining a diverse repertoire of cereal and pulse crops, as well as by continued foraging. Moreover, different households, communities and regions fostered distinctive cropping strategies, creating scope for the exchange of ecological and culinary knowledge. Narrowing and homogenisation of cropping arose through the intervention of Bronze Age states, which promoted the cultivation of just a few stress-tolerant cereals. This narrow agricultural base plausibly contributed to widespread political collapse in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. In this talk I consider the implications of deep-time understanding of early agriculture for present-day dilemmas surrounding food security and climate change, stressing the huge potential of collaboration between archaeological, crop and climate science.
Monday 1 November, 5.00pm (UK) / 7.00pm (Athens)