The Little Ice Age in the Southeast Mediterranean and Southern Southwest Asia by Chris O. Hunt

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Lecture: The Little Ice Age in the Southeast Mediterranean and Southern Southwest Asia by Chris O. Hunt

Climatic changes during the Little Ice Age in Northern Libya, Tunisia, Southern Jordan and the Persian Gulf led to severe drought across the region with approximately halving of rainfall, especially during the 17th Century AD, although rainfall stayed low until the 19th Century.  The droughts seem to have been sufficient to cause the collapse of ancient floodwater-farming systems in Tripolitania and the resulting food shortages led to cannibalism in Benghazi and some other Libyan cities.  Malnourished refugees hid in caves in the Cyrenaican countryside, leading to a distinctive archaeology. Rare catastrophic rainfall was associated with the general drought, causing enormous but short-lived floods across the region.


About the Speaker:

Chris O. Hunt FGS FRGS FSA is Professor of Biological & Environmental Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a Geoarchaeologist and Archaeopalynologist who has specialised in human-environment relationships over a 40-year career, during which he has done research in many countries around the Mediterranean, in the tropics and temperate zone.

He first worked in Libya as part of the UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey, and has worked with Graeme Barker and Tim Reynolds on the Haua Fteah and its landscape in NE Libya since 2006 and at Shanidar Cave in Iraq since 2014. He was a Committee member of the Society for Libyan Studies (2009-2011). He was an editor of Journal of Micropalaeontology and Journal of Archaeological Science before starting Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports with Andy Howard in 2015.

In a peripatetic academic career, Chris first taught at Sheffield University, then had spells at CCAT in Cambridge, Royal Holloway, University of Huddersfield and Queens University Belfast before his current post as Head of Geography at Liverpool John Moores University. He has been visiting lecturer at the universities of Bucharest, Addis Ababa and Malta.

Chris has published five monographs and 239 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, including 20 articles in the Libyan Studies journal. A recent jointly-authored monograph is on ancient Maltese environments and human impacts (Temple Landscapes: Fragility, change and resilience of Holocene environments in the Maltese Islands. Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs. 569pp.

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