Reply To: Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History Reply To: Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History

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nik.petek@arkeologi.uu.se # Posted on December 12, 2014 at 20:27

Nik Petek
Reply to Hirschstein

Regarding your second paragraph on how and why the Mediterranean is degraded, I also heard of that theory but have never read into it. As far as I know about that, the Apennine mountain range has apparently been barren from the Antique because of the need for wood as building material and as fuel. But widespread deforestation across Europe has been speculated for the Neolithic or at least from the Iron Age with the modelling done by Jed Kaplan and some environmental archaeologists.

During a recent student conference here in Uppsala on historical ecology we were however told that to produce a grand narrative can be very dangerous. The example we were given was Joseph Tainter’s work, which became so generalised that it lost all credibility. But of course there is a fine line when disseminating knowledge to the wider public, where scientific specificity will not succeed, and to academia where one has to dot every ‘i.’ You need to be aware of your audience, but even with that in mind Tainter did a bad job. A grand narrative of the whole of ancient Mediterranean can only be false, since it gives a vast area a single history.