Featured module: Quaternary to Anthropocene

This module covers a key period of transformation of the global system, namely the Holocene period (last 12,000 years) and how we have transitioned to an anthropocene world – one where global and local systems are strongly controlled by human-induced processes. For example, students will study how vegetation communities (including forest cover) across Europe are shaped by climatic changes, or by changing populations levels, through time.

We divide the module into three parts. First how we reconstruct long-term ecological, natural climatic, and human systems. Next we explore what our reconstructions tell us about the nature of those systems at different points in time. Then we consider the impacts that humans had over the past 2000 years, and over the past 50 years.

The module has a strong practical component, and we guide students through a data-science approach to assessing when and how strongly natural climate change, or human population pressure, impacted local systems. This introduces key skills in data handling, visualising and analysis through cutting-edge approaches.

Topics covered:

  • long-term ecological change
  • environmental archaeology
  • climate change
  • the Anthropocene
  • human-environment relationships.

Teaching staff