2014 - 2015

  Man, climate and the ancient environment                                                             
Dafna LanggutGilman-humanities279Tue1000-1200 Sem  1
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description

The course will focus on past climate cycles and paleoenvironmental conditions during the Quaternary (the Pleistocene and the Holocene) in light of cultural changes and transformations of humanity. Students will encounter the Eastern Mediterranean with the influencing climate systems as well as with the typical environmental conditions (e.g. vegetation, soils). During the course long-durations climate changes (glacial-interglacial cycles) versus short-duration climatic events (e.g. Younger Dryas, the severe aridness at the end of the Late Bronze Age) will be evaluated. The aim of the course is to have a better understanding of key processes in human history and their possible links to changes in environmental conditions (natural and man-made) in the Levant as well as globally: different aspects of human evolution (e.g. out of Africa), linguistic revolution, the distribution and extinction of the Neanderthals, the global spread of Homo sapiens and its ecological influence (e.g. Mega-fauna extinctions), the transition to agriculture and the beginning of domestication, the transition to sedentary life and possible causes for cultural collapse during historical periods. Special focus will be given to possible links between the rise and fall of the great empires in the Eastern Mediterranean and climate changes as in the case of the “Crises Years” at the end of the Late Bronze, and the collapse of the social-cultural-political system during the10-11 centuries AD. The cultural process and transformations will be based on the available archaeological evidence (material culture and the faunal, botanical and human remains).

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