Event Date and Time
1102 Woods Hall

Please join us Wednesday, April 18th to hear from Dr. Carrie Hritz (Associate Director of Research at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center) as she uses examples from her research on ancient Mesopotamia (in present-day Iraq) to demonstrate archaeology’s role as a bridging discipline and tool to inform current and future questions of human-environment interactions. (See below for full abstract.)

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Spying on the Past and Informing the Future: Mesopotamian landscapes, climate change and cultural heritage

Carrie Hritz, PhD

Associate Director, Research

National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)

In this presentation, I will discuss the role archaeology can play as a bridging discipline, informing the past, present and future, particularly when it comes to human-environment interactions. First,  I’ll step the audience through my research demonstrating how integration of spatial datasets from historical and declassified spy satellite imagery, digital elevation models (DEMs), and past archaeological surveys provides new insights into the role human-environment interactions, particularly a changing environment, played in the emergence of urbanization in ancient Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq. In this case, GIS and image analysis are used to fill in gaps in the settlement record, begin to contribute to strategies for planning and the cultural heritage-climate change nexus, and propose a revised location for the Tigris River during most of antiquity with significant implications for resource use and management in the past, including address climate change and cultural heritage. Second, I will discuss how synthesis of this data revealed lessons and potential contributions to current and future questions of how humans interact with their environment. I will talk about the applied research I am currently engaged with in the policy realm with the US Global Change Research Program, and the role synthesis centers like SESYNC can play in fostering, linking and communicating the value of archaeological knowledge in socio-environmental synthesis research.