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Temples at Bagan, Myanmar


Post-Glacial Palaeoecology and the Greening of the Gobi Desert

North at Trent 2018 Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Bagnani Hall
North at Trent 2018 Lecture Series

The School for the Study of Canada is pleased to announce the North at Trent 2018 Lecture series, with the inaugural lecture given by the Dr. Lisa Janz, the Roberta Bondar Postdoctoral Fellow in Northern & Polar Studies at Trent University.

The Pleistocene-Holocene transition marked an epochal shift in global ecosystems that is closely tied to the emergence of agricultural societies. Indeed, dramatic changes in human land-use and diet are closely correlated with environment change; however, the role that humans may have played in causing these changes, including megafaunal extinctions, is hotly debated.  Archaeological research in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China has uncovered a number of clues for understanding Holocene ecosystems and the role of humans within them.  This talk will focus on post-glacial climate change, the "greening of the Gobi," and the role that intensive wetlands use may have had on local environments.  Implications for understanding global shifts in human economy and migration are considered.

Lisa Janz is the Roberta Bondar Postdoctoral Fellow in Northern and Polar Studies at Trent University.  Her work uses anthropological perspectives to address issues in human and landscape palaeoecology and to unravel prehistoric relationships between foragers and food-producing neighbours. Dr. Janz’s research has established the first date-based chronology for the Gobi Desert Neolithic, demonstrated that the large Pleistocene ostrich survived in East Asia as late as 8000 BP, and developed a new framework for global shifts in diet breadth during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition.  In collaboration with Mongolian colleagues, new field-based research at Zaraa Uul in eastern Mongolia is uncovering evidence of human occupation dating as far back as 40,000 years, including one of only a few known Neolithic habitation sites with extensive faunal remains.  

Posted on January 4, 2018