Blog: Politics & an Archaeology of Climate Change Denial

Ljotarstadir erosion

Sheep bones eroding from an exposed slope on a farm, southern Iceland. 2014. Photo: Rachel Rubin.

In the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, my friend and colleague Trish Markert at Binghamton University has been producing a blog series entitled ‘An Archaeologist’s Guide to Election Season.’ A PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Binghamton, Trish is publishing this series at the blog for Binghamton’s Public Archaeology program and covering the fascinating ways archaeology can engage with American electoral politics on issues like gender, climate change, undocumented migration, and Black Lives Matter.

I’m honored to have been asked to contribute to this series with an article about the roles that archaeology can play in understanding changing climates in the past and how political considerations are both affecting how we utilize our archaeological data to understand modern-day climate change and how climate change today is destroying, permanently, the archaeological record currently in the ground.

After covering some of the basic ideas behind how archaeology can interact with climate science to better understand the human ecodynamics of coupled social-natural systems, my blog takes a brief look at some of the research being conducted by my colleagues both in the North Atlantic and National Park Service and around the world.

Part I: Archaeology and Climate Change: Past, Present, and Looking to the Future by Trish Markert and Jeremy Trombley.

Part II: Eroding – How the Archaeology of Climate Change Denial is Threatened by Climate Change by Kevin Gibbons.


University of Maryland

Binghamton University