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Conference: Advances in modelling past human ecosystems

Mai 22 - Mai 24

Workshop Concept

In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of anthropological and archaeological studies that look into the human-environment interactions and resource management practices of Indigenous and local populations (Sherjon et. al. 2015; Whitaker et al. 2023; Pisor and Jones 2021; Welch-Devine et al. 2020). Such works, which often draw from the fields of historical ecology, pyrogeography, multi-species studies and climate ethnography, have provided a wealth of new data on human experiences, perceptions and adaptations to ecological change and novel insights into human-animal and human-plant interactions at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. At the same time, there has been an increase in interdisciplinary eco-archaeological approaches that make best use of archaeological science methods to provide evidence of long- and short-term change in human ecosystems. These developments offer new opportunities for enriched approaches to computational modelling that better address important scientific challenges in the study of past human eco-dynamics (Kintigh et. al. 2014).

This workshop invites papers on archaeological computational models that seek to take fuller into account advancements shaping the current discourse in socio-ecological research. We are particularly interested in approaches to simulation modelling that gain insights from Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge. We also encourage contributions that explore the socio-ecological dynamics of resource use, depletion and renewal and in interdisciplinary eco-archaeological approaches that bring together ethnoarchaeology, archaeological science methods, and computational modelling. More broadly, we invite works on computational modelling (e.g., simulations, GIS-based models, equation-based models, agent-based models, etc.) which look into:

– the response of hunter-gatherer, agropastoralist and urban populations to ecological change

– anthropogenic impacts on environmental change in the long- and short-term, at smaller and larger spatial scales

– ecological sustainability and resilience in the past and present

– theoretical and conceptual frameworks for socio-ecological simulations of past human behaviour that go beyond traditional models (e.g., optimal foraging theory)

– technological advances in computational modelling of socio-ecological systems


Kintigh, Keith W., Jeffrey H. Altschul, Mary C. Beaudry, Robert D. Drennan, Ann P. Kinzig, Timothy A. Kohler, W. Fredrick Limp, et al. 2014. ‘Grand Challenges for Archaeology’. American Antiquity 79 (01): 5–24.

Pisor, Anne C., and James H. Jones. 2021. ‘Human Adaptation to Climate Change: An Introduction to the Special Issue’. American Journal of Human Biology 33 (4): e23530.

Scherjon, Fulco, Corrie Bakels, Katharine MacDonald, and Wil Roebroeks. 2015. ‘Burning the Land: An Ethnographic Study of Off-Site Fire Use by Current and Historically Documented Foragers and Implications for the Interpretation of Past Fire Practices in the Landscape’. Current Anthropology 56 (3): 299–326.

Welch-Devine, Meredith, Anne Sourdril, and Brian J. Burke, eds. 2020. Changing Climate, Changing Worlds: Local Knowledge and the Challenges of Social and Ecological Change. Ethnobiology. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Whitaker, James Andrew, Guillaume Armstrong, and Chelsey Geralda Odonne, eds. 2023. Climatic and Ecological Change in the Americas: A Perspective from Historical Ecology. London: Routledge.


Mai 22
Mai 24


University of Cologne, Institute of Archaeology
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