Science, society and environmental change in the first millennium CE

Project summary

Bringing together scholars in sciences, social sciences and humanities, this project explores scientific and social responses to natural phenomena in the context of what is now known about environmental and climate change in the first millennium CE. Previous studies, especially in humanities, have tended to focus on rural agricultural societies, landscape-management and effects of changing technologies. This project instead explores how people thought about and responded to natural phenomena and environmental change in the first millennium CE. It will investigate intellectual and social responses to the natural world, contextualised within research into past environmental/climate change and major events (e.g. volcanic eruptions, flooding,warming/cooling periods). Using case-studies, participants will explore how different societies, communities and individuals responded to phenomena such as floods, comets, volcanic eruptions and epidemics. The project aims to explore similarities and differences in responses, and to contextualise them within known, scientifically-documented largescale climate change along with smaller-scale (often local or regional) environmental fluctuation. These discussions will lay the ground for more intensive future research combining approaches from multiple disciplines. By bringing together scholars of sciences, social sciences and humanities, the project aims to suggest new questions and approaches for future research, utilising the expertise of multiple disciplines together.

Term: Epiphany 2020



Project fellows

Principal Investigator: Dr Helen Foxhall Forbes (History)
Principal Investigator:
Dr Karen Milek (Archaeology)

Edge Hill University

Dr Anna Jones is a Lecturer in Physical Geography at Edge Hill University, UK. Dr Jones is interested in the records of flooding preserved in floodplain sediments and landforms, and in developing methods for extracting records of flood events from the sedimentary archive. The aim of this research is to extend the relatively short records of flooding available from river flow gauges and historical documents.

University of Warwick

Dr Caroline Petit is an assistant professor in Classics & Ancient History at the University of Warwick. Her research interests lie in the textual transmission, translation and interpretation of ancient medical texts; in medical rhetoric; and in the long history of ancient medical texts and the many ways they have been appropriated up to modern times.