JG Manning, Professor of Ancient History, Yale University
My current research is situated at the intersection of Paleoclimatology and the economic history of the premodern world. Paleoclimate research has advanced rapidly in the last few years and is increasingly adding high resolution, multi scalar proxy data on climate and climate change. I'm particularly interested in ice core geochemistry, a very exciting and dynamic science. Historians, especially of the premodern world, simply can no longer afford to ignore the growing natural archive produced by ice core analysis. Other proxy data, inter alia from tree rings, speleothems, sediment cores, are crucial as well, and every month there are new and important data. I am part of a small team that has been working on understanding the impacts of explosive volcanic eruptions on the Nile watershed. We have focused on the Ptolemaic period so far but plan on extending our study through Late Antiquity and examining the inter-regional impacts of climate change across the Mediterranean world, but with particular focus on the Nile and Euphrates rivers. Our ongoing work suggests that there is now a lot of exciting work to do to understand human societies as coupled human-natural systems with feedback loops. We plan on exploring what the impact of human societies were on the environment, how the environment shaped human societies of the past, and what the impact of climate change was on these societies. Science has now (and increasingly) given us the ability to answer these crucial questions in far more detail than ever before.