From climate to conflict: recap of the GIAP Seminars of 2023

What an extraordinary year it has been for the GIAP Seminar series in 2023! As we bid farewell to this year’s series, let’s take a moment to reminisce about the incredible talks that we were able to enjoy.

Although this chapter has concluded, the GIAP team is already hard at work, preparing another remarkable line-up of seminars in the year 2024. Stay tuned for future announcements!

First up, we had the privilege of hearing from Prof. Dr. Ferran Antolín, who shared insights on the groundbreaking research conducted by the GroundCheck research cluster. This interdisciplinary endeavor has been at the forefront of exploring the intricate relationship between climate and archaeological heritage, both in contemporary times and throughout history. The German Archaeological Institute (DAI), with its rich legacy spanning nearly two centuries, has played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of this project.

Next, Dr. Mila Andonova-Katsarski took us on a fascinating journey through the ancient city of Serdica in Sofia, Bulgaria. Through her archaeobotanical and anthracological research, she unveiled preliminary data that shed light on the plant life during the Roman period and Antiquity. By analyzing plant remains from different excavation sectors, both within and outside the ancient city borders, Dr. Andonova-Katsarski provided invaluable insights into the botanical landscape of this ancient civilization.

In another captivating talk, Prof. João Pedro Vicente Tereso transported us to northeast Portugal, where the construction of dams unearthed a treasure trove of archaeological sites. Through meticulous charcoal and carpological analysis, Prof. Tereso revealed long-term dynamics in vegetation, agriculture, and human societies spanning from the Mesolithic era to the 19th century. This comprehensive exploration emphasized the need for integrated interpretations of archaeobotanical and archaeological evidence, highlighting the intriguing continuity and changes in agricultural practices and settlements throughout history.

In May, Dr. Amal Al Kassem brought our attention to the devastating impact of the Syrian conflict on archaeological sites in Al-Hasakah and Daraa provinces. Through field visits and satellite imagery analysis, Al Kassem presented a sobering account of the damages inflicted upon these cultural heritage sites. This talk underscored the urgent need to protect and preserve our shared human history in the face of armed conflicts and their destructive consequences.

Last but certainly not least, Dr. Dan Stewart from the University of Leicester offered a thought-provoking presentation that questioned the traditional notion of the archaeological ‘event’ and its relationship to time, process, and interpretation. By examining how data in landscape archaeology often reflects recurring processes rather than singular events, Dr. Stewart challenged us to reconsider our visualizations and narratives to better capture the intricate and evolving nature of the past.

As the curtains close on the GIAP Seminar series for 2023, we express our heartfelt gratitude to all the speakers who graced our virtual stage. Stay tuned for what’s in store for the 2024 series!

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