Saturday, January 5, 2013: 9:20 AM
Napoleon Ballroom D2 (Sheraton New Orleans)
New techniques in climatology have provided increasingly detailed information on levels and ranges of temperature and moisture at many times in the past. Data come not only from polar cores but from glaciers, caves, lake sediments, and oceanic sediments, so that we have climatological details for many areas of the earth’s surface. In addition, several techniques have advanced to enable precise dating of these climatological data. This paper focuses on matching available climatic data with the times and places of human occupation, from very early days some 200,000 years ago up to the establishment of the written record in history, some 5000 years ago. It draws on recent journal articles and the accompanying data, most of which is publicly available from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The data are then mapped to show shifting patterns of temperature and moisture; the maps are then overlaid with the best available information on human settlement and migration in the past.
This linkage of information on patterns of climate and human settlement is expected to provide significant information on the conditions of human migration and social change. Ultimately, these results on climate are to be linked to data in archaeology, genetics, and linguistics, with the aim of preparing a more comprehensive picture of early human migration and social change.