New research project to understand the influence of climate on past societies

In the last decades, extensive research on past climate and climate dynamics led to a fundamental understanding of the drivers of natural climate variability. Archaeological findings and historical records played so far a minor role in this process. Even though the cultural records provide valuable source for the study of demographic and social dynamics, that are influenced by climatic conditions. However, compared to climate reconstructions, cultural sources often lack a good spatial and temporal resolution. Moreover, a good understanding of adaption and resilience of past societies when facing climate change is still missing. Against this background, a new project at the NIhK has started to investigate climatic changes and their consequences for landscape, vegetation, and settlement development. In this project, Dr. Daniel Hepp will compile the various available information, especially from cultural studies, on the sociatal changes of the last two thousand years in the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions and link them with natural science studies on climate development. The aim of the three-year project is to bring the disciplines, which differ in their way of thinking and methods, closer together. Together with other scientist from different disciplines, he will develop concepts and strategies to link individual events, archaeological findings and climate records, to include other regional, social and geopolitical factors and to serve as a framework for future historical reconstruction.