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XXI INQUA Congress: Time for Change

Rome, Italy
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Dates: 14-20 July 2023
Venue: Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy


The International Council (IC) of INQUA decided at the Dublin Congress that the XXI INQUA Congress will take place in Rome; a decision that acknowledge the importance of the region and the role Italian Quaternary scientists play in the international debate. By awarding the Italian bid, the IC also acknowledge the fact that Italian scientists played an active role within INQUA. During the past decades, Italy was well represented at different levels of the INQUA organisation.

The organisers of the INQUA Rome 2023 Congress offer a very ambitious programme around the theme “Time for Change” emphasizing the critical role of Quaternary sciences in contributing the knowledge we need to face current societal and climate challenges. “Time for Change” characterises also INQUA’s current phase. The changing world and the pandemic in particular, have a major impact on INQUA’s core objectives, i.e., to promote improved communication and international collaboration in experimental and applied aspects of Quaternary research.

Scientific themes include:

  1. From Natural Processes to Geohazards
  2. Landforms, facies architecture and sequence stratigraphy
  3. Quaternary environments and Human evolution: fossil record, phylogeny, palaeobiology, palaeoecology and cultural models
  4. Ecosystems and biogeography from latest Pliocene to “Anthropocene”
  5. Climate record, processes and models
  6. The Quaternary time machine- a review paper outlining the role of sea-ice during glacial cycles;

If you have any queries regarding the Scientific themes, please contact:

Important dates

The call to propose sessions for the INQUA 2023 Conference in Rome is now open:

31 March 2022: Session proposals deadline
30 April 2022: Second Circular: abstract submissions open
1 November 2022: Deadline abstract submission and financial support request, Early Bird registration opens
9 January 2023: Formal notification of acceptance for abstract and financial support
20 February 2023: Early Bird registration closes; Field trip registration closes; Regular Registration opens
20 March 2023: Deadline for presenting author registration (to be included in or be deleted from the final programme)
15 June 2023: Third Circular: final programme
10 July 2023: Regular registration closes
13 July 2023: Late registration opens

Please contact for further information.

General program

Pre-Congress Field Trips: 7-13 July 2023
Onsite registration opens, Exhibition setup, some business meetings: 13 July 2023
Icebreaker party: 13 July 2023
Opening Ceremony and First Session: 14 July 2023
Scientific Programme: 14-20 July 2023
Mid-Congress Field Trips: 16 July 2023
Congress Dinner: 18 July 2023
General Assembly and Closing Ceremony: 20 July 2023
Post Congress Field Trips: 20-25 July 2023

PAGES-related sessions

Floods Working Group
Scientific theme 1E - Short to long-term environmental changes (flooding, landslides, desertification, tectonics), and societal response
Session #166: Quaternary palaeohydrology: from the reconstruction of spatial impact of extreme events to long-term changes in catchments and landscapes
Convened by: Alessandro Fontana, Jürgen Herget, Lothar Schulte and Juan A. Ballesteros Cánovas

Abstract: Along the Quaternary the continental water cycle experienced important changes, including both extreme events of different magnitude, duration and geographical extent and long-term trends that shaped fluvial landscapes. Hydrological variability caused by climate and environmental forcing are recorded in stratigraphic sequences of river and lake deposits, botanical archives and, more recently, archaeological and historical evidence. In this session, besides the recognition and characterization of both floods and droughts, major topics are represented by the detection of changes in liquid and solid discharge along decades and millennia, with their effects on channel patterns, alluvial landforms, lakes and ancient societies. Contributions with multi-disciplinary approaches are warmly suggested, bringing together scientists from various disciplines, with the aim of integrating different sources of data, methods and research perspectives. The session wants also to highlight innovative techniques and reference case studies for disentangling global forcing factors from local and autocyclic variables. The focus of session is on hydrological changes of the past, anyhow attention is also paid to simulation of past extreme events for assessing the possible variations and scenarios expected in the near future.
The session is co-organized by TERPRO-Terrestrial Processes, Deposits and History group HYPEDAE (PalaeoHYdrological, -PEdological and -Aeolian processes shaping Quaternary landscapes) and PAGES Flood Working Group.

DiverseK - Integrating diverse knowledge systems for environmental policy & International Paleofire Network (IPN)

Workshop 2 – Integrative paleo-approaches for global conservation challenges
Tentative date: 16 July
Duration: 4-6 hours (10-13h and 15-18h)
Fees: Free of charge
Participants: Maximum 25

With the growing need in the Quaternary Science community to make paleo-data more relevant for addressing future global challenges, the PAGES DiverseK WG is promoting cross-disciplinary research at the interface between Palaeoecology, Dendroecology, Conservation Biogeography, Fire ecology and related disciplines. The aims of this workshop are to:

discuss the role of paleo-data for supporting conservation and sustainable management of forest and climate mitigation goals, as recently highlighted by the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26);
Identify key areas where emerging conflicts between conservation targets, socio-ecological and environmental needs can be tackled by an integrative paleo-perspective;
Discuss future DiverseK activities, including workshops and group publications.
We welcome ECR’s and more experienced researchers across a wide range of disciplines, particularly Paleoecology, Dendroecology, Archaeology and related disciplines. Participants are welcome to bring their own dataset for discussion.

PALSEA - PALeo constraints on SEA level rise
Scientific theme: 5: Climate record, processes and models
Session #89: Cenozoic sea-level indicators and ice sheet constraints to global sea-level change
Convened by: Alessio Rovere, April Sue Rogers Dalton, Deirdre D. Ryan, Roger Creel, Graham Rush, Natasha Barlow

Abstract: Understanding paleo relative sea-level indicators (e.g. shore platforms, coral reef terraces, beach deposits, etc.) is key to gauging paleoclimatic change and documenting physical responses to glacial- and hydro- isostatic adjustments and other regional earth surface processes. Quantifying these processes is essential for accurate projection of future sea-level changes. This session welcomes contributions to the global record of Cenozoic sea-level indicators (not limited to peak interglacial periods) and associated proxies from a variety of coastal environments, as well as constraints on paleo ice sheets and new approaches to constraining future sea- level projections with sea-level indicators. We also welcome studies that aim to improve the development, interpretation, and integration of these indicators. These data are critical for reducing uncertainties in paleo sea- level estimates and ice sheet extents and for producing projections that accurately attribute future sea-level changes to ice sheets, ocean thermal expansion, and other global and regional processes. This session falls within the purview of PALSEA (PALeo constraints on SEA level rise), a PAGES-INQUA Working Group, and the projects WARMCOASTS and RISeR (ERC StG, funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, grants 802414 and 802281).

PALSEA - PALeo constraints on SEA level rise
Scientific theme 5G: Global, regional and local sea-level changes and drivers
Session #147: Sea-Level, Ice-Sheet, and Earth system evolution: understanding the past to constrain the future
Convened by: Nicole Khan, Roger Creel, Matteo Vacchi, Natalya Gomez

Abstract: Addressing societal concerns about the damage that sea-level rise may cause to coastal communities and the global economy requires an understanding of the Earth system dynamics that produce these changes. The past behavior of ice sheets, oceans, and the solid Earth – and their effects on sea level – provide key information to address this challenge. We welcome contributions that focus on (1) sea-level and ice-sheet evolution in the geologic past and over the instrumental record; (2) Earth system processes affecting sea-level change, including glacial isostatic adjustment, ocean dynamics, and mantle dynamic topography; (3) integrating proxy and instrumental observations via statistical and/or physical modeling to understand these changes; and (4) leveraging past records to project future sea level.
Sponsored by HOLSEA (Geographic variability of HOLocene SEA level) and PALSEA (PALeo constraints on SEA level rise) working groups of the International Union for Quaternary Sciences (INQUA) and Past Global Changes (PAGES) and IAG subcomission 3.4 on Cryosphere Deformation, this session particularly encourages submissions that engage with adjacent scientific disciplines (e.g. geodynamics, geomorphology, stratigraphy, glaciology, geophysics,
paleobiology, etc.) and explores avenues for constraining uncertainties in sea-level and ice-sheet reconstructions.

SISAL - Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis 
Scientific theme 5: Climate record, processes and models
Session #118: Cave deposits for in deep understanding Quaternary climate and environment
Convened by: Andrea Columbu, Valdir Novello, Barbara Wortham, Yassine Ait Brahim, Micheline Campbell

Abstract: Cave deposits efficiently record past climatic and environmental conditions. Either clastic sediments or chemically precipitated deposits (speleothems) can indeed retain important insights about variation in temperatures, rainfall amount and source, seasonality, vegetation and soil status, hydrology as well as many other key-aspects of the Quaternary Period. This is accomplished throughout the study of physic-bio-geochemical, petro- mineralogic and sediment-stratigraphic characteristic of cave deposits, which can be rigidly anchored to low- uncertainty geochronology thanks to the modern dating techniques (ie. U-Th, U-Pb, 14C, OSL, etc.). Furthermore, the association of these geological archives with models can help to improve the understanding of Quaternary conditions from a regional to a global perspective. This session welcomes cave-deposit based novel studies with special regard to those presenting: 1) chronologies for key Quaternary events, 2) new records from underrepresented Quaternary time-slices and/or geographical areas; 3) novel palaeoclimate/environment proxies and/or techniques; 4) Models using data in global repository (ie. SISAL, NOAA, etc) and 5) cave monitoring. The aim of this session is to summarise and possibly update the state of the art of Quaternary palaeoclimate-
environment research based on cave deposits from a multi-disciplinary perspective, as well as discuss the potential scientific directions for the near future.

Varves Working Group (VWG)
Scientific theme 5 - Climate record, processes and models
Session #7: "Varve records as high-resolution archives for continental Quaternary research"
Convened by: Celia Martin Puertas, Adrian Palmer, Cecile Blanchet, Anna Becket, Bernd Zolitschka 

Abstract: Understanding the Earth’s climate system and environmental responses to changing conditions in the past is key to contextualise the current climate change and inform our future.
Varved archives, i.e. annually laminated sedimentary records, have a wide spatial distribution, provide robust chronologies and generate high temporal resolution datasets of climate change that provide comprehension of both natural and human systems. These archives also have a high potential to deliver relevant information to a wide range of end users and decision makers that might help to address current societal challenges regarding global warming. This session welcomes contributions that use varves for (1) palaeo-weather reconstructions (seasonal, annual to decadal resolution) such as extreme weather events (e.g. flood, heat waves); (2) proxy development and proxy calibration to maximize the use of varved sediments in terms of quantitative reconstructions; (3) proxy-model comparison; (4) high-resolution palaeoecological studies to assess biodiversity trends; (5) delivering palaeo evidence to end users, e.g. environmental consultancies, climate services, policy makers. We also invite contributions about any other investigations of lacustrine and marine varves. This session will constitute a contribution to the PAGES-endorsed “Varve Working Group”.

Early Career Network
Advancing paleoscience in underrepresented regions: promoting records of past socio-environmental systems in the Global South and beyond
submit abstract here:

PAGES SSC Sessions

Scientific theme: 4C: Palaeoecology as a tool for ecosystem management
Session #142: Palaeoecology and restoration ecology
Conveners: Lindsey Gillson, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Willy Tinner, University of Bern, Switzerland

Abstract: The UN’s decade of restoration ecology (2021-2031) represents a commitment to restoring ecosystems and ecological function at the global level. However, in many cases it is difficult to define appropriate restoration goals because reference conditions are lacking. Specifically, the degree of ecosystem transformation is often unknown. Increasing human impact through industrialisation, and intensive agriculture over past centuries has disrupted ecosystem functions, including biodiversity loss, increased erosion and changes in hydrological function, which have affected ecosystem service provision. In addition, customary management of fire and herbivory has been disrupted. Long-term information from palaeoecology can contribute useful information for contextualising recent changes in biodiversity and providing reference conditions relative to key anthropogenic milestones and past warm events. Furthermore, the move towards future conditions with no past analogue creates challenges for restoration ecology, in that a return to former conditions may be neither possible nor desirable. In these cases, palaeoecology can contribute to a process-based understanding of ecosystem processes and resilience, which can in turn guide management that considers restores resilience and adaptive capacity, while considering cultural context, or in choosing between scenarios that resist accept or direct change.


Early Registration: 450 €
Regular Registration: 580 €
Late Registration: 750 €
Student Early Registration: 180 €
Student Regular Registration: 220 €
Student Late Registration: 300 €
One-day Registration: 350 €

Registration fees will cover lunches, morning and afternoon refreshments, the icebreaker party and congress materials including a congress programme and abstracts (on pendrive). We are planning to provide the programme and abstracts on a Congress app, which will be downloadable for tablets and smartphones and will allow users to compile their own personalised programme.

Early registration will be available until 20 February 2023, after which the regular registration fees will apply. On-site registration will be possible at higher rate (late registration).
Please note that due to the unknown pandemic condition in summer 2023, we reserve the possibility to cancel the Congress or part of it (fieldtrips, for instance). In case of cancellation the full registration fees that have been
transferred will be reimbursed. This would be the only reason the refund applies.

Further information

Contact organizers at:
Visit website:

> Read the second circular here.
> Read the first circular here