Welcome to the Centre for Ancient Environmental Studies

The Centre was founded in September 2020. Its goal is to facilitate the study of human-environment interactions in the Ancient Mediterranean, Europe, and West Asia.

Ancient environmental studies is a rapidly expanding discipline. We aim to contribute to that development by, among other things, bringing together researchers in many different areas of the field, providing an opportunity for dialogue between scientific, archaeological, historical, and literature approaches.

The Centre is founded on the conviction that we need to look to the past if we want to make sense of our current environmental problems – that we need to map out the long history of human-environment relations in all its complexity to understand how we got here and how we might prepare for the future.

Much of the work we and others do in this area involves using ideas developed within the environmental humanities (which has traditionally focused almost exclusively on modern societies in relation to our current environmental crises) to open up new questions about the ancient world. Sometimes that involves emphasizing points of connection between ancient and modern, but just as often it can lead us to see the differences, helping us to see what is distinctive in both ancient and modern responses to environmental challenges. In other cases it can involve asking how we can use the history, literature, and archaeology of the ancient world as a starting point for responding to the challenges of the present.

CAES events are open to all! In an effort to minimize the carbon footprint of our activities while still engaging with a global audience, we regularly host online and hybrid events. Please sign up to our Centre email list if you are interested in knowing more.

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