Event: PIZZA TALK:Climate Change, Cultural Heritage and Human Social Trajectories: An Archaeological Perspective from Holocene Central Sahara

Date & Time

January 30, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Contact Information

Sumiji Takahashi
Phone 310-825-4169


Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)

Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Savino di Lernia

Director, The Archaeological Mission in the Sahara

Director, The Archaeological Mission in the Kenyan Rift Valley

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy


Climate changes are a serious threat to cultural and natural heritage. Although many contexts are today seriously endangered, recent studies highlight how “archaeology and cultural heritage threatened by anthropogenic climate change are not just victims but part of the solution” (Hambrecht & Rockman, 2017. American Antiquity). Long-term archaeological projects could provide evidence to better understand the nature of the relations between climatically driven environmental changes and social trajectories. Aim of this talk is to present a synthesis of the main Holocene climate and environmental variations from a privileged geographical context – the central Sahara, where the magnitude of these changes was huge –, with a special focus on the Tadrart Acacus and Messak region (SW Libya). Here, cultural and social trajectories go together with resilient mechanisms of adaptations. Archaeological evidence reveals that social strategies were pivotal in coping with environmental changes. Although it is certainly true that climate changes are in fact central elements in cultural trajectories, in the past as today, this is even truer for marginal ecosystems such as the changing landscapes of the Holocene central Sahara. However, the continuity of many cultural practices until historical times and even later shows how the Saharan tradition is indeed an extraordinary way of life that deserves specific attention.