Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

World Archaeology

For a Special Issue on

Archaeology in times of climate emergency

Manuscript deadline
31 December 2023

Cover image - World Archaeology

Special Issue Editor(s)

Ferran Antolin, Natural Sciences Unit, German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Germany
[email protected]

Ferran Antolin, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland
[email protected]

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Archaeology in times of climate emergency

Climate change has impacted and will continue to alter our society in numerous ways, from extreme weather events that threaten livelihoods to more long-term climatic trends that force us into new ways of interacting with the environment. Archaeology is no exception.

Archaeological heritage is directly affected by climate change. There are coastal sites worldwide being eroded away by rising sea levels and heavy storms, while sites preserved for centuries in permafrost are known to be thawing and disintegrating in a matter of years. Climatically induced destruction of sites often takes place in hard-to-reach areas that pose logistical challenges for fieldwork. These areas are often understudied and represent important gaps in our knowledge.

Despite the fact that the speed and the dramatic effects of the climate crisis we are experiencing are unprecedented, its anthropogenic origins are deeply rooted in time and archaeological research has taken a step forward to contribute to this research. Archaeologists are making their data archives, uniquely rich from the time depth perspective, meaningful to discussions within the climate change research community. Archaeology can have an important say on the long-perspective role of humans since the beginning of the Holocene. This novel research line, also involving theoretical developments, can move beyond simplistic determinisms on human-environmental interactions and the definition of land-use and the scales in which different societies have affected their environment.

This special issue aims to address all topics related to how archaeologists are mitigating the impact of climate change on archaeological heritage, and how archaeologists are redefining their discipline as a relevant field in climate research. The themes of this issue may encompass contributions from the new scientific challenges of rescue excavations of endangered sites in remote areas (particularly if an involvement of third parties, such as indigenous populations or landscape architects in the protection of the heritage has been possible), to the strategies developed for coping or monitoring climate-generated site deterioration. We also aim to attract papers on the long-term human impact on climate change that demonstrate a clear and sound connection to the present (always from a critical standpoint), including research on long-term land-use history or the identification of human-induced trophic cascades in the ecosystem in contexts of past climate change. Theoretical research on human-environmental interactions and decision-making processes in relation to past climate change are also welcome.

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