3. Global Historical Ecology

Convenors: Kalle Lindholm (karl-johan.lindholm@arkeologi.uu.se) och Anneli Ekblom (anneli.ekblom@arkeologi.uu.se)

Members: Paul Lane, Anneli Ekblom, Michel Notelid, Gustaf Svedjemo, Erika Weiberg, Anton Bonnier, Martin Finné, Angus Graham, Karl-Johan Lindholm, Daniel Löwenborg, Nik Petek, Anna Shoemaker, Axel Frejman, Andreas Hennius

Themes

  • Integrated Landscape Analysis and GIS
  • Landscapes and Biocultural Heritage
  • Re-contextualising Climate Change
  • Applied Archaeology and Future Perspectives

Description

Our research aims to analyse and understand historical and contemporary interactions between physical environmental processes and the many social interactions that build society. We study connections and conflicts within society and in the interactions between people and environment over time, assuming that these interactions are complex and problematic. The historical time depth provides an integrated understanding of how the actions and decisions of individuals are structured by societal norms and by the design of both the built and the physical landscape.

Integrated Landscape Analysis and GIS

Our landscape research rests on the philosophy that landscape is both the medium and the outcome of a collaborative learning process. Integrated landscape analysis is the overall activity of describing and interpreting landscapes. Integrated landscape analysis provide bridges over the conventional dichotomy between the humanities and the natural sciences and allow researchers to test ideas, interpretations and to build integrative projects; combining the experimental and deductive lines of reasoning of the natural sciences with the holistic and critical perspectives of the humanities and social sciences. Integrated landscape analysis integrates paleoecology, archaeobotany, osteology, geochemical analyses, remote sensing, spatial statistics, modelling, etc. with archaeological interpretation. A crucial component of integrated landscape analysis is Geographical Information Systems (GIS), which are computer aided systems for the collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and presentation of spatial data. GIS facilitates integrated research on human activities and interactions with processes of the biophysical landscape, its settlement history and socio-spatial organisation and interaction. Integrated landscape analysis combines our research interests in settlement and spatial organisation, critical heritage, biocultural heritage, and social-natural interactions more broadly with our interests in applied archaeology and future and present landscape dynamics.

Landscapes and Biocultural Heritage

The concept of biocultural heritage refers to an integrated view on heritage as elements of cultural memory, for example language, folklore, place names, and local traditional ecological knowledge systems. The biocultural heritage also includes tangible material elements of human practice, for example archaeology, built environments and heritage sites, which also comprise components of the environmental setting they appear in. Biocultural heritage also refers to the biophysical elements of the landscape; vegetation and soils and biodiversity, as shaped through human practice and social-natural interactions. In essence, the various elements of biocultural heritage are strongly linked through the landscape they are embedded in. Moreover, the biocultural heritage provides impressions and motivations for – and thereby actively shapes – identity, community, human creativity and artistic expressions. The understanding of forms  of organisation and material expressions of biocultural heritage, feeds into applied archaeology and  issues of landscape management, conservation, rural development and cultural heritage management.

Re-Contextualising Climate Change

Using data from different time periods and parts of the globe, this theme is intended to examine how researchers conventionally understand past climate change, and asks how might we rethink the material record of social adaptabilities and transformations to better understand what it means to live through an era of rapid climate change? Archaeology with its vast record of human experience is an excellent means of understanding how humans mitigated for and responded to climate variability, the influence of the rate and scale of change and of individual action and social structure for shaping societal vulnerability, resilience and transformability. Our research aims to re-contextualise deterministic and/or teleological interpretations of the human experience of climate change for  terminologies and conceptualisations that allows us to discuss and assess the capacities of individuals, communities and societies to transform and innovate  in face of adverse or threatening conditions.  Fundamentally, we ask if we find a new language and ways of representing climate change , and that provides a bridge between ‘“denial “on the one hand  and alarmist perspectives on the other,  for a new debate that allows us to  capture the experiential aspects of climate change and discourses around climate change in the past and present.

Applied archaeology and future perspectives

Conservation, landscape planning, rural development, transformative knowledge, dissemination, IHOPE. An understanding of the long term  interactions between social dynamics and dynamical physical processes is crucial for the understanding of the conditions of today and for the formulation of possible solutions for the future.  Historical ecologies  and integrated landscape analyses provides a better understanding  of landscape dynamics; of acute relevance for landscape planning, and management conservation, heritage management and rural development.  Our research may also  offer alternative solutions for sustainable societies and sustainable developments and provides an arena for discussions on different solutions for sustainable development.

Activities

  • Re-activate Rethinking Human Nature
  • Seminars and workshops, which highlight methodological and theoretical issues involved in the themes listed above, to start with dedicated activities 1-2 times per semester.

Affiliated Projects

Contesting Marginality

REAL

DoLP (Domesticated Landscapes of the Peloponnese)

ArkDIS

Gamla Uppsala

THAWS

Landscape transformations and socio-ecological management, Limpopo National Park, Mozambique

Rethinking Human Nature (The Research Laboratory for Integrated Landscape Analysis and GIS, VR-infrastructure)

HERCULES

IHOPE

Useful links

IHOPE