Winds of Change: Environment and Society in Anatolia (poster attached)
Co-organised by Chris Roosevelt, Koç Üniversitesi ANAMED and John Haldon, CCHRI, Princeton University
Venue: Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey
Along with the fertile crescent, the Indus valley and the Yellow River plain in China, Anatolia was one of the great “cradles of civilization” in the Old World. Each of these regions has their own unique characteristics, and Anatolia is no exception. It lies at the point where Asia, Europe, and Africa meet and where three climatic systems intersect, and this has had significant consequences for the evolution of its cultures and civilizations. The issue of how environmental, especially climatic, disruptions affect human societies and political systems has begun to attract a great deal of attention from the scientific community and the general public and can have significant consequences not just for historians but also for policymakers and future planning. Integrating high-resolution archaeological, textual, and environmental data with longer-term, low-resolution data on ancient climate affords greater precision in identifying some of the causal relationships underlying societal change across several millennia, and regional and microregional studies have now thrown significant light on questions that until recently could not be answered satisfactorily. The Anatolian case in particular challenges many assumptions about the impact of climatic factors on socio-political organization and medium-term historical evolution and highlights the importance of further collaboration between archaeologists, historians, and climate scientists.
This symposium aims not only to showcase recent research but also to engage with both specific evidence for climatic conditions or changes—textual, scientific, or other—and specific evidence for societal phenomena—archaeological, historical, or other—to discuss the complicated range of correspondences and/or correlations between them. Given such emphases, some (if not most) presentations are expected to be collaborative, co-authored efforts between those whose primary expertise is the human past (in the social sciences and humanities) and those whose primary expertise is proxy climate data (in the natural sciences). In this way, the symposium illustrates how such collaborative research helps to understand complex social and cultural change as well as the results of recent work relevant to the relationships between climate, environment, and society in Anatolia.