Geophysikalisches Kolloquium: Antroposphere in the Earth System: Simulating the Pathway of Human Societies in the Past

Prof. Dr. Kai Wirtz


It has become popular for climate scientists to correlate cultural disruptions in the past or the onset of new technologies with climatic events or long-term climate changes. Anthropologists, in turn, tend to disregard geographical or climatic factors

as determinants for cultural development while favoring endogenous processes.

In this talk a more intricate picture is proposed which combines elements of both views. This picture made possible by the development of a Global Land Use and Technological EvolutionSimulator (GLUES) which is based on the concept of Adaptive Dynamics, thus making use of analogs between biological and cultural evolution. GLUES traces the dynamicsof few key variables describing the socio-economic and technological development of Paleo- and Neolithic regional communities around the globe while depending on less than ten parameter values.

As a validity test, GLUES generates time--sliced maps that reveal a semi-quantitative coincidence with the archaeological evidence.

This motivates to address two more specific questions:

(1) How has Europe adopted farming? Was this Neolithisation process triggered

by climatic disruptions?

(2) Why did technology of the American cultures lag behind for several millenia

compared to Eurasian developments ?

The talk will present a combination of old and new hypotheses answering both

questions. Finally, an arising network of social and natural scientists (HECCAN) is introduced which aims at advancing research in the field of climate-culture interactions.




15:15 h


Geomatikum H4
Lecture hall H4 (ground floor), University of Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, Hamburg


Kai Wirtz, GKSS Institute for Costal Research, Geesthacht, Germany



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