New article: Land use and climate


In a new article that concludes the Domesticated Landscapes of the Peloponnese (DoLP), we show that long-term and comparative studies are imperative if we are to identify the interlinkage between land use and climate and understand how vulnerabilities build over time and ultimately decide the societal outcomes of climate change.

Erika Weiberg, Anton Bonnier, Martin Finné, 2021. Land use, climate change and ‘boom-bust’ sequences in agricultural landscapes: Interdisciplinary perspectives from the Peloponnese (Greece), Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 63, 101319. Open Access!

Using a long-term perspective, we study changes in both the extent and intensity of land use in NE Peloponnese, Greece, across more than two thousand years, from the end of the Middle Bronze Age to Roman times (~1800 BCE–330 CE). When set against a backdrop of paleoclimate information from the Peloponnese, the correspondence between changes in land use extent and climate is significant. Sequences of booms and busts in ancient societies have previously been connected to cycles of agricultural intensification and the balance between population and food supply. Our results suggest that climate can amplify such cycles, but also – importantly – that societies create their own futures in the way that they are able to balance agricultural strategies relative to climate and climate change. Climate conditions may facilitate additional expansion during boom periods, supported by socio-political control functions, but also introduce significant impediments to previously successful strategies and ultimately lead to a crisis through an overexploitation of existing resources.