ROOTS of Socio-Environmental Hazards

Environmental and climate changes, including human-induced alterations, are major threats and challenges to past and modern societies. They exacerbate existing problems regarding resources, nutrition, urban agglomeration, health, and social inequality, and may even trigger migration and conflicts. Short-term events superimposing mid or long-term environmental changes have recurrently threatened the stability of human societies ever since as well as during the Holocene, in particular, and erode social, environmental and cultural connectivity. In contrast, more stable periods lacking significant environmental extremes arguably foster societal connectivity and continuity as well as population and economic growth. While human activities and thus their impact (pressure/stress) on environments have generally increased over the course of the Holocene, eventually reaching critical tipping points, human responses appear highly diverse on different spatial and chronological scales.

The ROOTS of Socio-Environmental Hazards aims at a new diachronic and comprehensive level of analysis on questions of socio-environmental hazards and human coping strategies in the past by interlinking methods and archives from environmental, social, and cultural domains. Main research questions addressed by the subcluster centre around:

  1. the occurrence, causes and impact patterns of hazard in human prehistory and history;
  2. the consequences of environmental and associated socio-environmental hazards of differential intensity and timing (creeping versus abrupt) for past societies;
  3. the human responses to hazard and adaptive strategies to cope with socio-environmental stress;
  4. the identification of human-induced stepping stones toward the Anthropocene and the question about when they became dominant drivers of environmental change.



Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions