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Rapid climatic change and social transformations: Uncertainties, adaptability and resilience

Abstract : Over the past twenty years, palaeoenvironmental research in the Mediterranean has progressed significantly, based mainly on marine, lake, marsh, peat bog and fluvial archives. These records demonstrate a long-standing anthropogenic impact on the Mediterranean ecosystems but also provide evidence of significant climatic instability (e.g. Magny et al. 2013; Vannière et al. 2013) with notable periods of Rapid Climatic Change (RCC) observed on the global scale during the Holocene (9.2, 8.2, 6-5, 4.2, 3.2 ka cal. BP; c. 7.2, 6.2, 4-3, 2.2, 1.2 ka BC). In polar records, RCCs that start abruptly within a decade or two at the most and most often concern a period of 150 to 400 years, are often considered among the main environmental factors causing socio-economic and cultural changes, migrations, and even collapses. According to such climatic determinism, an RCC would be much harder (if not impossible), for a human society to adapt to, thus leading to radical societal transformations (e.g.Weiss et al. 1993; DeMenocal, 2001; Drake, 2012;Weninger et al. 2014) but an increasing number of published studies suggest that the relationship between environmental and cultural changes is more complex and offer a range of non-deterministic explanations (e.g. Butzer, 2012). Starting from this perspective, we have developed a new research project (ArcheoMed- Paleomex) in the framework of the MISTRAls initiative to respond to the following questions: 1) What is a natural forcing (timing, nature, origin)? 2) How can a so-called “climate event” produce a social fact: change in material production, resource exploitation, settlement pattern, etc.?
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Contributor : Jean-Michel Carozza <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 9, 2020 - 10:04:44 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 21, 2021 - 11:40:06 AM
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Lespez, Carozza et al. Climate...
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Laurent Lespez, Laurent Carozza, Jean François Berger, Catherine Kuzucuoglu, Matthieu Ghilardi, et al.. Rapid climatic change and social transformations: Uncertainties, adaptability and resilience. Stéphanie Thiébault; Jean-Paul Moatti. The Mediterranean Region under Climate Change, IRD Edition, 13 p., 2016, 978-2-7099-2219-7. ⟨10.4000/books.irdeditions.22959⟩. ⟨hal-01445619⟩



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