Fragility, change and response: prehistoric Malta and the environmental record.
Caroline Malone (Queen's University Belfast)
Simon Stoddart (University of Cambridge)
Chris Hunt (Liverpool John Moores University)
Rowan McLaughlin (Queen's University Belfast)
Paper short abstract:
Interdisciplinary research on long-term environmental change in Malta is revealing significant patterns in human responses to landscape and soil management. This paper describes the work of the ERC funded FRAGSUS project.
Paper long abstract:
The ERC funded Fragsus project is combining cutting edge interdisciplinary methods with traditional archaeological approaches to explore how early societies sustained viable economic life in restricted island environments (Malta). Deep sediment cores and a range of environmental analyses combined with detailed chronological and palaeoeconomic study demonstrate that prehistoric societies developed effective soil management, and this sustained remarkable cultural life for millennia. Those systems failed under more intensive regimes where boom and bust economies exploited marginal environments. Such regimes were catastrophic in episodes of climatic instability and change, resulting in soil loss, garrigue development and poor economic viability over large areas, The landscape viability was only mitigated by terrace systems and advanced water management. This paper addresses how interdisciplinary environmental methods combined with fieldwork and deep time archaeology enable a series of key questions to be effectively explored.
Past weather, past climate - archaeology as Environmental Humanity