What is it about?

Past climate change is considered very influential for environmental conditions and human societies in Turkey, and the broader Eastern Mediterranean. However, examining these relationships is tricky as you need strong evidence for past climate, environment, agriculture, and humans. This evidence must also be close to one another as these relationships vary a lot. We have produced a record of settlements in Lycia-Pamphylia (SW Turkey) as this was the missing link in this region, there was already strong evidence for the other aspects. We looked at three previous periods where climate is said to have been impactful, all during Roman occupation (50 BCE - 700 CE). We found two of these theories untrue, whilst the third was challenging to assess as disease, environmental change, earthquakes and conflict occurred at the same time as dry conditions.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that climate change has often be adapted to by ancient societies, however doing so is harder when other events occur at the same time.


This research took multiple years to produce, but the effort was worth it and it was made much easier by a great team of collaborators, all of whom will become long term collaborators. I think this paper is a strong example of how to engage with climate impacts in the ancient past, where evidence is not as abundant as we would like. There were also scary parallels with today, including the recent earthquakes in Turkey that were exacerbated by war and covid. I hope you find it interesting!

Matthew Jacobson

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Settlement, environment, and climate change in SW Anatolia: Dynamics of regional variation and the end of Antiquity, PLoS ONE, June 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0270295.
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