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Department of Archaeology

Thursday, 4 May, 2023 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event speaker: 
Prof. Martin Jones, University of Cambridge

Research findings over the last 15 years have brought to light a series of crop movements which, by the mid 2nd millennium BC formed an interweaving pattern spanning much of the Old World. Research on this topic to date has largely entailed the geographical definition of that interweaving pattern and establishing its chronology. Those findings now allow us to enquire into the actual processes underpinning the arrows across the map, to ask how the crops moved, with whom or what they moved, what kinds of transactions that entailed, and what were the consequences of this global intermixing of crops.

In pursuing that enquiry, I shall have in mind a range of processes, in one scenario comprising mobile ecosystems, of people, cultural practices, crops, and animals, all migrating in tandem. In a contrasting scenario, they comprise crops as detached and freely exchanged commodities, physiologically and ecologically uncoupled from their ancestral niche. I shall consider how the bioarchaeological evidence allows us to discriminate between these scenarios, and propose a chronology for the transition of an emphasis upon the former to one upon the latter, in order to make connections with wider discussions of globalization.

Contact name: 
Carmen Ting
Contact email: 
Event location: 
McDonald Seminar Room and online
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