Zooming in on climate and societal change in central Italy (1st–6th century CE)

Begin - Einde 
2021 - 2024 (lopend)
Vakgroep Archeologie



"The Roman Empire fell victim to the Late Antique Little Ice Age.” This idea is widely accepted among the general public and among scholars outside history or archaeology. However, many archaeologists and historians reject this idea as environmental determinism and argue that it is not founded on a thorough analysis of the possible effects of climate change on agriculture or society. Grand narratives should be built on a solid base of empirical
evidence, which this project aims to provide by focussing on central Italy over a period of six centuries. Concentrating the analysis solely on climate change would inevitably distort our findings. Hence, this project integrates changes in temperature and precipitation (based on the latest paleoclimatic studies) with other societal and environmental factors. Recent projects have produced a wealth of data in the form of archaeological surveys, geological and environmental studies, excavations and non-invasive archaeology. These data reveal changes in the human and natural landscape at the local level. The project is set up in such a way as to empirically shed light on the impact of both climatic and societal factors (and their interconnectedness) by analysing the data on settlement dynamics and rural exploitation from many different angles. If trends in temperature and/or precipitation explain observed shifts better than societal factors, this will show in the empirical analysis.



Postdoctorale medewerker(s)

Externe medewerkers

Paul Erdkamp

Vrije Universiteit Brussel