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WALSH Kevin

Senior Lecturer in Landscape Archaeology, University of York, UK
Période de résidence: 
3 octobre 2016 - 28 juillet 2017 ; résidence IMéRA/EURIAS
Projet de recherche: 
Human-environment interactions in Mediterranean Mountains: A case study in characterising the Anthropocene
Résumé du projet: 

The proposed project, Human-environment interactions in Mediterranean Mountains: A case study in characterising the Anthropocene, builds on research where I co-direct international multidisciplinary teams that combines humanities and natural sciences in mountain Archaeology and Historical Ecology.

Recently, many scientists have accepted the notion of an Anthropocene – a period when environmental systems are dominated by human influences, or when human activity has a significant effect on the environment. One fundamental area of debate is when this period started. This proposed project will examine published and unpublished data from four different Mediterranean Mountainous areas. Whilst reference would be made to work carried out by the applicant in the Alps, this project will engage with new data from; i) Corsica, ii) Crete, and iii) Atlas mountains (Tunisia).

The premise for this project is that that certain landscapes have been more susceptible to human influence than other landscapes. Mediterranean landscapes, and in particular, Mediterranean mountains, are some of the most sensitive environments globally – mountain landscapes are especially sensitive to both climate change and human activity. However, even where we can demonstrate that people and/or climate have caused environmental degradation, it is apparent that many mountain communities across the Mediterranean have developed resilient socio-economic strategies. These strategies have often restricted the extent to which some mountain landscapes have passed nonreversible “tipping points”; i.e. a point when an earth system is highly susceptible to degradation that can be caused by only a small change in that system.

More specifically, this project would assess the chronology of the key phases human exploitation of high altitude environments across a sample of Mediterranean mountains the nature of these phases of exploitation (i.e. types of economic activity) the evidence for climatic or anthropogenic impact on the environment the evolution of forms of human management strategies that have mitigated environmental problems. Data would be collected and synthesised in a special database designed specifically for this project. I it will allow the analysis of different trends in environmental change, human activity and exploitation of the chosen mountain ranges. This analysis of would be situated within a historical ecological framework, which would explicitly avoid monocausal explanations (e.g. relating changes in human activity to changes in climate).

Lien(s) web: 

http://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/staff/academic-staff/kevin-walsh/

BIO: Having completed a PhD in Landscape Archaeology at the University of Leicester in 1993 on the evolution of the sand-dune system and landscape characteristics of Lindisfarne, he went to work as a research fellow in Aix-en-Provence with joint CNRS/Université de Provence laboratory, the Centre Camille Jullian. This part of the European Union funded Populus project considered methodologies in Mediterranean landscape Archaeology. He was responsible for the landscape reconstruction working party, and co-edited the volume on Environmental Reconstruction in Mediterranean Landscape Archaeology. 

After the Mediterranean, the Caribbean beckoned, and after two years in Jamaica; teaching anything and everything from Human Evolution to the archaeology of Slavery, Kevin returned to Aix where he developed landscape projects with French colleagues on the Ste Victoire Mountain and in the French Alps.

Since arriving at York, Kevin has developed his interests in prehistoric landscape archaeology, and human-environment interaction in the Alps and the Mediterranean - projects within these themes have resulted in a number of publications, including major single-authored book published by CUP

His second area of interest relates to the politics (in its broadest sense) of heritage conservation and display, his book on this subject, The Representation of the Past, was published in 1992 by Routledge and is now available as an e-book.