2023: Environmental Change and Human Resiliency

February 23-24, 2023

The Department of Classics is pleased to announce the tenth colloquium of the Theodore B. Guérard Lecture Series, Classical Charleston: “Environmental Change and Human Resiliency.” One of the biggest questions facing the world today is how to sustainably balance the needs of society while also adjusting to a changing environment. We have much to learn from a historical perspective that focuses on the symbiotic relationship between human society and the environment.

This colloquium focuses upon the ways that archaeology opens a window into the long-term dynamics of how human and environmental systems adapt and change over the long duration of history. The colloquium is furthered by a concurrently run workshop on the environmental and human history of the Epidauria (Greece).The Socio-Environmental History of the Epidauria Project (SEHE) uncovers the interplay between the human and environmental systems of the Epidauria region, over the last 15,000 years –from hunter-gatherer systems to the present day. The project brings together an international team of archaeologists, geologists, historians, and paleoenvironmentalists to develop a synergistic narrative, of benefit for understanding how human societies impact environmental systems and vice versa. SEHE provides a training ground for developing the new generation of leaders that are globally fluent, interdisciplinary in vision, and intent upon impacting the future while grounded in the past.

Thursday, February 23: Case Studies in Resilient Communities (Alumni Center, School of Education, 4:00-6:00pm)

  • “Exploring Socio-Environmental Resiliency in the Hungarian Plain” - Attila Gyucha, University of Georgia, and Danielle Riebe, University of North Georgia (4:00pm)
  • “Building Resilient Communitiesin the Byzantine World” - Fotini Kondyli, University of Virginia (5:15pm)

Friday, February 24: The Epidauria (Alumni Center, School of Education, 4:00-6:00pm)

  • “Integrating Human and Environmental Histories” - Hugh Elton, Trent University (4:00pm)
  • “Exploring the Human and Environmental History of the Epidauria” - James Newhard, College of Charleston (5:15pm)

This colloquium is co-sponsored by the the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, the School of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, the Program in Archaeology; the Center for Historical Landscapes; the Archaeology Club; the South Carolina Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, and the Oak Ridge Association of Universities (ORAU).

For more information, contact Dr. James Newhard (newhardj@cofc.edu).

About the Presenters:

Dr. Hugh Elton is Professor Ancient Greek and Roman Studies at Trent University (Canada). Prof. Elton specializes in Roman and Late Roman political and military history, and the regions of Cilicia and Isauria in southern Turkey. He has participated in a number of archaeological projects, most recently running a multi-period interdisciplinary survey in the Göksu Valley near Alahan and providing advice about best practice for the archaeology of the BTC pipeline. Dr. Elton served from 2001 through 2006 as Director of the British Institute at Ankara. He is co-editor of Asia Minor in the Long Sixth Century: Current Research and Future Directions (2019) and Archaeology and Urban Settlement in late Roman and Byzantine Anatolia, and author of The Late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity: APolitical and Military History (2018).

Dr. Attila Gyucha is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Georgia. Dr. Gyucha uses multi-scalar and multi-disciplinary approaches to explore long-term social, cultural, and ecological dynamics during prehistory, with a specific focus on the transformative role of population aggregation and disintegration in early farming societies of Southeast Europe. Dr. Gyucha is also engaged with collaborative heritage science programs to encourage cultural heritage protection and foster public outreach and education. He is recent co-editor of First Kings of Europe: from Farmers to Rulers in Southeast Europe (2022) and Bikeri: Two Copper Age Villages in the Great Hungarian Plain (2021)

Dr. Fotini Kondyli is the NEH Horace W. Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Professor in at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include Byzantine and Frankish spatial practices, community building processes and the material culture of Byzantine non-elites. She also works on cultural, economic, and political networks in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Byzantine period (13th- 15th c.). She is the author of Rural Communities in Late Byzantium, Resilience and Vulnerability in the Northern Aegean (2022) and coeditor of The Byzantine Neighbourhood. Urban Space and Political Action (2022).

As an active field archaeologist, Kondyli has worked on archaeological sites in Greece, Albania, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Germany. She is currently involved in archaeological projects at Athens, Thebes, northern Attica, and Samothrace. Her fieldwork at Athens and Thebes are part of her research project on Byzantine city-making processes and the role of non-elites as city-makers. Bringing together legacy data from old excavations and newly excavated sites, Kondyli works on reconstructing parts of Athens and Thebes' spatial layout and architecture in the Middle and Late Byzantine/Frankish periods and explore the variety of activities and lived experiences in these cities. She is also employing 3D modelling and Virtual Reality tools to visualize the cities’ changes through time and communicate her research results to a wider audience in new and interactive ways.

Dr. James Newhard is Professor of Classics, Director of Archaeology, and Director of the Center for Historical Landscapes at the College of Charleston. He is a landscape archaeologist who emphasizes the integration of human and environmental histories to develop an overall understanding of social environmental change over long periods of time. As an active archaeologist, Dr. Newhard has worked on and directed projects in Greece, Albania, Turkey, and the United States. He has authored and co-authored multiple works on ancient Mediterranean socio-economic systems, archaeological field methods, informatics, and geoarchaeology. Most recently, he co-edited Archaeology and Urban Settlement in Late Roman and Byzantine Anatolia: Euchaïa-Avkat-Beyözü and its Environment (2018).

Dr. Danielle Riebe is Research Faculty Associate of Anthropology at the University of North Georgia. Since 2013, she has directed the Prehistoric Interactions on the Plain Project (PIPP), focusing on the relationship between interactions and social boundaries in the Late Neolithic Hungarian Plain. Her most recent publications include Obsidian Across the Americas (edited with G. Feinman, 2022) and Redefining Archaeological Cultures: Boundaries and Interactions during the Late Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain (2021).