Too cold for this p(a)lace ?

Climate and Environment in the late 2nd Millennium B.C. Mediterranean

27-28 October 2014

Salle du Sénat Académique

Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)

International workshop organised by the ARC ‘A World in Crisis?’, Aegis (UCL-INCAL-CEMA)

The years surrounding 1200 B.C. were, for the Eastern Mediterranean, a time of turmoil and crisis, a pivotal period during which significant Aegean, Cypriot, Anatolian and Levantine centers were devastated and the Hittite empire collapsed, developments variously blamed on economic or environmental disasters, invasions or social unrest. Egypt was attacked by a coalition of people known from contemporary epigraphic sources as the Sea Peoples, a loose confederation of ethnic units often linked with the Aegean and Central Mediterranean. In the Aegean basin, including coastal Anatolia, there follows a long period of abandonment, cultural stagnation and decreased social complexity, conventionally called the Dark Ages (1200-800 B.C.), during which literacy, monumental and figurative art and complex socio-political systems almost entirely disappeared. However, this epoch also brings a series of innovations in material culture and social and political organization that herald the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age, particularly in the Levant. Still, what precisely triggered off these developments remains a major historical problem.

The present workshop concentrates on one feature of this multifaceted problem: the climate and environment during the late 2nd millennium B.C. Its aim is to discuss the existing evidence for climate and environmental changes in the Eastern Mediterranean, with a particular focus on the 13th century B.C. Aegean – the period that precedes and culminates in the turmoil and the region which may have felt its first effects and/or contributed to it. Ideally we want to explore whether rapid environmental changes, associated with climatic fluctuations, can be identified through a combined analysis of stratified archaeological sequences, architectural remains, historical sources, Holocene marine and terrestrial sedimentary archives, as well as dendrochronological, palynological and speleothem evidence. Such detailed site-based analyses and multi-faceted investigations of the extant archaeological and environmental sources of the 13thc. B.C. may eventually help us to fine-tune developments both from a diachronic and synchronic point of view. Particular attention will be paid to the possible preconditions or inciting incidents that may have led to the social instability and vulnerability, resulting in the devastating disruptions and dispersals of populations that so wracked the region at the end of the century.

Listed of Invited Speakers

Jennifer Moody , Martin Finné , Eelco Rohling, Brandon Drake , Bernhard Weninger, Neil Roberts , Mark Besonen, Mark Macklin, Elissavet Dotsika, Kurt Nicolussi , Dafna Langgut, Mario Gavranović, Eric Cline.


Première journée/First day (Monday 27th October 2014)

Inscription et introduction au workshop/Registration and introduction to the workshop

8h45-9h30: Accueil et inscription/registration – Café/Coffee

9h30-9h40: Introduction sur le Projet ARC par Jan Driessen/Introduction on the ARC project by Jan Driessen

9h40-10h00: Simon Jusseret

“Climate and environment in the late 2nd millennium B.C. Mediterranean: introduction to the workshop”

Session 1: Setting the stage – synthetic approaches to 2nd millennium B.C. palaeoenvironmental changes in the Mediterranean – Chair TBA

10h00-10h30: Brandon Drake

“Magnitude and impact: how much climate change was too much for Late Bronze Age Mediterranean societies?”

10h30-10h45: questions-comments

10h45-11h05: coffee break

11h05-11h35: Eelco Rohling

”WHY is it too cold for this p(a)lace?”

11h35-11h50: questions-comments

11h50-12h20: Bernhard Weninger

“Rapid Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean, with focus on the transition from the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Age at Troy”

12h20-12h35: questions-comments

12h35-14h30: lunch break

Session 2: Regional approaches – Chair J. Driessen

14h30-15h00: Neil Roberts

“Climate, environment and the end of the Bronze Age world system: evidence from central and southwest Anatolia”

15h00-15h15: questions-comments

15h15-15h45: Dafna Langgut

“Prolonged droughts (~1250-1100 BCE) and their link to the “crisis years”: new palynological evidence from the southern Levant”

15h45-16h00: questions-comments

16h00-16h20: coffee break

16h20-16h50: Elissavet Dotsika

“Bio- and geomaterials as archives of past environmental conditions in Greece”

16h50-17h05: questions-comments

17h05-17h35: Mark Besonen – Michael Rosenmeier – Jason Curtis – Harvey Weiss – Jennifer Moody – Clayton Magill

« Holocene climate and environmental change as recorded at Lake Kournas (western Crete) »

17h35-17h50: questions-comments

17h50-19h00: free time

19h00-20h00: Public Lecture by Eric Cline

“1177 BC: the year civilization collapsed”

20h00-22h00: Reception

Seconde journée/Second day (Tuesday 28th October 2014)

8h45-9h00: Accueil et inscription/Registration – Café/coffee

Session 2: Regional approaches (continued) – Chair E. Cline

9h00-9h30: Jennifer Moody

“Climate on a human scale: the importance of seasonal climate change in Late Bronze Age Crete”

9h30-9h45: questions-comments

9h45-10h15: Martin Finné – Karin Holmgren

“Past climate and environments on the Peloponnese – what do we know and where are we heading?”

10h15-10h30: questions-comments

10h30-11h00: coffee break

11h00-11h30: Mario Gavranović

“From the plains to the mountains and back. Cultural shifts in southeast Europe during the late 2nd millennium B.C.”

11h30-11h45: questions-comments

11h45-12h15: Mark Macklin

« The fluvial record of rapid environmental change in the Aegean and Mediterranean during the late 2nd Millennium B.C. »

12h15-12h30: questions-comments

12h30-14h00: lunch break

14h00-14h30: Kurt Nicolussi

“Climate variability in the late 2nd millennium BC reconstructed by means of Alpine proxy data”

14h30-14h45: questions-comments

14h45-15h45: general discussion, led by S. Jusseret and J. Moody

15h45-16h00: closing words by S. Jusseret

16h00-19h00: free time

19h00-: closure of the workshop: Belgian beer tasting event at Brasserie “Beer Bar”, Louvain-la-Neuve