The Late Antique Archaeology conference of 2016 on “ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY IN THE FIRST MILLENNIUM A.D.” will be held at The Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE (inside the Royal Academy), on Saturday 8th October 2016.

The time is ripe to place environmental issues at the heart of debates about Late Antiquity. Recently, a paper on the climate change during the age of Justinian, published in Nature, received coverage in all major American and European newspapers. This article is not an isolated case, yet mainstream late antique scholarship has not so far absorbed this work.

This conference will be a decisive step in making the late antique community aware of a whole range of environmental phenomena that affected Mediterranean and northern European societies at the end of Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. We will adopt a Mediterranean-wide approach and look at the period of Late Antiquity from a broader chronological perspective, that of the 1st millennium A.D. This time frame is critical to interpreting climate and vegetation data, which are most meaningful in a long-term context.

The conference itself has two aims. Firstly, it will present the rich pollen and scientific data available for the study of the first millennium AD in different regions. Secondly, it will develop and reinforce the environmental perspective on Late Antiquity. The focus on the whole Mediterranean (with its hinterland in Northern Europe) will correct a bias towards the East seen in recent studies on the environmental history of Late Antiquity. The conference will interest not only scholars of the 4th to 7th c., but also early medievalists and students of earlier Graeco-Roman Antiquity.

Following issues will be addressed:

Regional vegetation histories: overview of the pollen evidence

1. Western Mediterranean – José Antonio López-Sáez (Madrid), Neil Roberts (Plymouth)
2. Central Mediterranean – Laura Sadori (Rome), Alessia Masi (Rome), Anna Maria Mercuri (Modena), Katerina Kouli (Athens)
3. Eastern Mediterranean – TBC
4. Northern Europe – Jessie Woodbridge (Plymouth), Ralph Fyfe (Plymouth), Neil Roberts (Plymouth)
5. Britain – Stephen Rippon (Exeter), Ralph Fyfe (Plymouth)

Local and regional case studies: integrating archaeology, history and the environmental sciences

6. Avkat and Northern Anatolia – John Haldon (Princeton)
7. Sophiana and South Italy – Emanuele Vaccaro (Cambridge), Anna Maria Mercuri (Modena) and Michael MacKinnon (Winnipeg)
8. Sagalassos and South-Western Anatolia – Gert Verstraeten (Leuven), Nils Broothaerts (Leuven), Maarten Van Loo (Leuven)
9. Tabacalera (Asturias) – Leonor Pena Chocarro (Madrid) and others

Mediterranean thematic surveys

10. Climatic changes and their impact on the late antique societies: general trends and interregional variability – Neil Roberts (Plymouth), Inga Labuhn (Lund), Adam Izdebski (Krakow)
11. Deforestation and reforestation during the Roman Antiquity – William Harris (Columbia)
12. The late antique rural settlement boom and its environmental impact across the Mediterranean – Alexandra Chavarria (Padua) and Adam Izdebski (Krakow)
13. Land use, social structure and the environment in Late Antiquity – Mark Whittow (Oxford)
14. Environment and the end of Antiquity, or is there a link between the fall of Rome and a major environmental catastrophe? – Adam Izdebski (Krakow)


Places are limited. To register for the conference write to [email protected] before 15th September. Registration opens at 9:15. The conference begins at 9:30.
Underground: Green Park and Piccadilly
Cost (to be paid in advance): 12GBP for students and OAPs; 25GBP for others.

This conference is generously supported by John Beale and Brill Academic Publishers.
Convener: Adam Izdebski, Jagiellonian University in Krakow