Future Pasts: Pastoral archaeology to inform the future of sustainable farming

Project Details


The challenge:
Globally, around 200 million people are practising pastoral farming. Research on transhumance communities in Southeast Europe has indicated that as the climate becomes warmer the pastures are becoming more arid, and the pastoral communities are being forced to abandon their lifeways and move towards a sedentary form of farming. Similar issues are experienced by other nomadic farming communities across the Mediterranean, South America, the Indian subcontinent, and Central Africa. Recent research has also indicated that such traditional animal farming practices have a significant lower carbon footprint than sedentary industrial scale farming. This raises the question; how can we protect these traditional farming practices and use them to inform a more sustainable future?

What do we want to do:
‘Future Pasts’ aims to: 1) run a pilot case study to create a blueprint methodology, using cross faculty expertise, that address the risks that pastoral communities are facing due to the climate change, and 2) inform future sustainable farming based on practices used in the past. To achieve these aims, a small pilot study of a small transhumance community in Northwest Greece is being used. We are building a people-climate biography approach, seeking to understand the relationship that these groups have had with their natural surroundings over the last 500 years and how the current climate emergency and reduced water levels are changing their lifeways. We employ paleoclimate reconstruction, palaeopopulation health and computer modelling, to understand risks, record practices, and project the future for the community under study and beyond.

How will it help:
Recommendations will be made on how the impact of climate change on nomadic pastoralists should be recorded and addressed, and on how such traditional practices can be supported and more widely applied for a lower carbon footprint.
Effective start/end date1/10/2230/09/23


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