BACK(BONE) TO THE FUTURE Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Climate Change and Climate Crisis

The Human Bioarchaeology Unit of the Division of Natural Sciences of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) is pleased to announce a free online conference about long-term perspectives on climate change and climate crisis, from the point of view of those who saw it happening in the past, and of those that see it happening today.

Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Climate Change and Climate Crisis
2nd December (14:00 CET – 19:00 CET) and 3rd December 2021 (14:00 CET – 19:00 CET) @ Zoom
Division of Natural Sciences, German Archaeological Institute

The Call for Papers is now open until the 21st of November 2021!

Registration for attendees will open soon.
Please visit the website for all the relevant information about the conference:


And follow along on Twitter: #BioarchClimateConference

Session 1 – Threatened Bioarchives: Climate Change and (Bio)Cultural Heritage
Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding, droughts and global warming all put under threat ancient bioarchives, including osteological remains, which have survived for hundreds or thousands of years. This session aims to open a discussion about the environmental and social dynamics that fuel the increasing loss of ancient bioarchives, as well as to envision rescuing strategies for the future of our (bio)cultural heritage.
Invited Speakers: Albert Zink (Institute for Mummy Studies, Eurac Research); Adam Boethius (Lund University); Dione da Rocha Bandeira (University of Joinville Region / Archaeological Museum Sambaqui)

Session 2 – From climate riders to climate refugees: Climate Change and Human Evolution
Climatic changes have driven human dispersal of different species of Homo all over the globe. For those of our ancestors who could survive them and thrived, environmental challenges became adaptive opportunities. Today, increasingly fast changes in climatic conditions are responsible for the displacement of people and the uprooting of entire social and cultural systems. By bridging the remote origins of climate change and its dramatic reality, this session will focus on resilience as key to face climate change and climate crisis.
Invited Speakers: Richard Potts (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History); Michael Petraglia (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History); Louisa Loveluck (The Washington Post)

Session 3 – Under the Weather: Climate Change and Human Health
Our capacity to adapt is determined by the ability of our physiological system to face the changes triggered by fast dropping or rising temperatures, increased precipitation or aridization. The talks in this session will span from parasite infections, to the spread of diseases in over-crowded cities of the past and the increasingly high threat of modern climatic stressors. The discussion will build up a global perspective on the history of human health as tightly intertwined with that of climatic changes, and the coping strategies developed by different human groups through time.
Invited Speakers:
Aida R. Barbera / Karl J. Reinhard / Morgana Camacho (CELAT Research Center, Université Laval / Pathoecology Laboratory, University of Nebraska-Lincoln / Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz); Sharon DeWitte (University of South Carolina); Hanns-Christian Gunga (Charité – University Medicine Berlin)

Session 4 – Rising Temperatures and Rising Tensions? Climate Change and Violence
The history of droughts, famine and economic crisis caused by climatic changes is often read as a story of increased competition over the available resources, inter-group tensions and, ultimately, violence. Through the study of the bioarchaeological evidence, this session will open to new narratives, taking into account also mitigating strategies and inter-group cooperation as winning adaptive responses to climate change and climate crisis, in the past as well as today.
Invited Speakers:
Mark Allen (California State Polytechnic University); Rebecca Redfern (Museum of London); Kira Vinke (Center for Climate and Foreign Policy, German Council on Foreign Relations)