Next Article in Journal
Let Seizing Truths Lie: Witnessing “Factions” in Lauren Slater’s Lying
Next Article in Special Issue
Societal, Policy and Academic ‘Visions’ for the Future of the Marine Environment and Its Management, Exemplified in the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland
Previous Article in Journal
More than Stories, More than Myths: Animal/Human/Nature(s) in Traditional Ecological Worldviews
Previous Article in Special Issue
Linking the Local and the Global. What Today’s Environmental Humanities Movement Can Learn from Their Predecessor’s Successful Leadership of the 1965–1975 War to Save the Great Barrier Reef
Open AccessArticle

Past-Forwarding Ancient Calamities. Pathways for Making Archaeology Relevant in Disaster Risk Reduction Research

Centre for Environmental Humanities, Laboratory for Past Disaster Science, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark
Humanities 2017, 6(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040079
Received: 13 August 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanities for the Environment)
Despite the alleged mastery of humans over nature, contemporary societies are acutely vulnerable to natural hazards. In interaction with vulnerable communities, these transform into catastrophes. In a deep historical perspective, human communities of many different kinds have been affected by numerous kinds of natural disasters that may provide useful data for scenario-based risk reduction measures vis-à-vis future calamities. The low frequency of high magnitude hazards necessitates a deep time perspective for understanding both the natural and human dimensions of such events in an evidence-based manner. This paper focusses on the eruption of the Laacher See volcano in western Germany about 13,000 years ago as an example of such a rare, but potentially highly devastating event. It merges Lee Clarke’s sociological argument for also thinking about such very rare events in disaster planning and David Staley’s notion of thinking historically about the future in order to ‘past-forward’ such information on past constellations of vulnerability and resilience. ‘Past-forwarding’ is here intended to signal the use of such deep historical information in concerns for contemporary and future resilience. This paper outlines two pathways for making archaeological information on past extreme environmental events relevant in disaster risk reduction: First, the combination of information from the geosciences and the humanities holds the potential to transform ancient hazards from matters of fact to matters of concern and, hence, to more effectively raise awareness of the issues concerned. Second, in addition to information on past calamities feeding into preparatory scenarios, I argue that the well-established outreach channels available to the humanities (museums, in particular) provide powerful platforms for communication to multiple publics. View Full-Text
Keywords: possibilistic thinking; historical thinking; natural hazards; risk reduction; vulnerability; scenarios; volcanism; Laacher See possibilistic thinking; historical thinking; natural hazards; risk reduction; vulnerability; scenarios; volcanism; Laacher See
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Riede, F. Past-Forwarding Ancient Calamities. Pathways for Making Archaeology Relevant in Disaster Risk Reduction Research. Humanities 2017, 6, 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040079

AMA Style

Riede F. Past-Forwarding Ancient Calamities. Pathways for Making Archaeology Relevant in Disaster Risk Reduction Research. Humanities. 2017; 6(4):79. https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040079

Chicago/Turabian Style

Riede, Felix. 2017. "Past-Forwarding Ancient Calamities. Pathways for Making Archaeology Relevant in Disaster Risk Reduction Research" Humanities 6, no. 4: 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040079

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop