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Rapid climatic change and social transformations


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 therelationship 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 materialproduction, resource exploitation, settlement pattern, etc.?
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hal-01445619 , version 1 (09-11-2020)



Laurent Lespez, Laurent Carozza, Jean François Berger, Catherine Kuzucuoğlu, 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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