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How Archaeology can help Future Proof against Natural Disasters

  • SSB Lecture Theatre 200, Social Sciences Building The University of Sydney Camperdown, NSW Australia (map)

Insights from the past to transform our environmental future

Archaeology can help us understand how climate and environmental change in our recent and distant past shapes our future. Join us as we delve into the little-known world of environmental archaeology, during National Archaeology Week.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, but it's not an isolated phenomenon. The world has experienced climate and environmental upheaval before, with varying impacts, and archaeology can unlock insights into how we can prepare our communities against such threats. 

Archaeology can fill in many important historical blanks about the influence of our environment on human history and evolution, on both a small and large scale. Consider, for example, how very small things such as shells, microscopic pollen grains and even chemical isotopes in soil or bones can reveal insights into our lifespan and way of life.

On a larger scale, archaeology can help us to better understand what happened right below our feet, even under the streets of big cities like Sydney. It reconstructs past environments to explain how humans shaped, adapted to, and managed their local ecosystems, even as climate upheaval happened around them. Sometimes this change was rapid and dramatic and often it was confined to specific regions. 

This event brings together three archaeologists working on different types of evidence – from Sydney and tropical northern regions – to reflect on what they have learned about the continent’s environmental history and explain what it means for today and the long-term future.

The speakers:

  • Katherine Woo, University of Sydney

  • Dr Tim Owen, Flinders University

  • Dr Stephen Gale

  • Chair: Dr James L. Flexner, University of Sydney

Time and date: 6-7.30pm, Wednesday 22 May 2019

Location: SSB Lecture Theatre 200, Social Sciences Building, The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)

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