The environment of past societies

SOPAST – The environment of past societies

Our societies: What impact do they have on territory?

The environment is understood here as the totality of the natural and semi-natural environment, characterised by its biotic and abiotic components as the habitat of human societies. The central goal of this topic is to describe landscapes through time, but more importantly to measure the human footprint in relation to the evolution and development of societies from the Palaeolithic to the present.

Prehistoric canoe found on the shore of Lake Chalain
Laténium – model of a lake dwelling

Multidisciplinary approaches from the historical, archaeometric, and paleoenvironmental sciences will be used to identify, characterise, and quantify the effects of human activities on the composition and structure of animal, plant, fungal, and bacterial communities, as well as on pedological and geomorphological processes.
Several research topics will be addressed, particularly the influence of humans on the evolution of forest ecosystems and hydrosystems, on the establishment and change of agro-sylvo-pastoral systems, and on the biological and cultural history of native species. In particular, the goal is to identify past agricultural practises and describe their effects on present-day ecosystems.