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XXI INQUA Congress: Time for Change

Rome, RM, 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: show mail address

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 28 November 2022: Deadline extended for 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 show mail address 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 working group sessions and workshops

ACME - Arctic Cryosphere Change and Coastal Marine Ecosystems 

Name: PCW2
Date: 12 July 
Title: Best practices and data quality challenges for coastal marine proxies in the Arctic ACME Steering Committee 
Convenors: Maija Heikkilä, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme,
University of Helsinki, Finland, show mail address, Anna Pieńkowski, Institute of Geology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, show mail address, Sofia Ribeiro, Department of Glaciology and Climate, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, show mail address, Kaarina Weckström, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Finland, show mail address

Description: The main goal of this workshop is to disseminate and discuss the relevant results and deliverables from ACME WG Phase I, to gather feedback and to plan future steps with the wider community. In addition, we wish to facilitate knowledge transfer and collaborations between proxy specialists and end users as well as between various research groups. We will address representatives from PAGES ACME, MARDI, C-SIDE WGs, INQUA CMP and PALCOMM, The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Core Project, small and large research networks conducting research on Arctic marine sediments or applying Arctic paleoceanographic data (such as climate modellers and modern oceanographers/ecologists). Discussion points include the state-of-the-art proxy use, relevance of harmonization of research processes and metadata documentation, critical methodological points and data quality challenges, important aspects of big (and small) data interpretation and application. We discuss these within a framework of proxies commonly used for temperature, sea ice, primary production, and meltwater runoff reconstructions in Arctic marine, coastal and fjord environments over the Quaternary.

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

Workshop 2 – Integrative paleo-approaches for global conservation challenges
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.

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.

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 2F: Karst process, deposits, landforms, and landscape
Session #202: The Dryland Cave and Karst Record: Reconstructing hydroclimate change and hominin palaeoenvironments
Convened by: Mike Rogerson (lead convener) Tebogo Makhubela, Robyn PickeringMonika Markowska, Patrick Randolph-Quinney

Abstract: Hydroclimate change in regions which are today arid or semi-arid provide some of the most celebrated cases of Quaternary environmental change, and some of the most pressing examples of human populations made vulnerable by anthropogenic climate change. Dry continental areas also present some of the most challenging regions for Quaternary science, with the paucity of continuous sedimentary records, combined with the low organic content of those that are present, making dating and environmental reconstruction exceptionally difficult. That is, except where caves and karst are present. The unparalleled preservation of past climate variability evidenced by speleothems, tufa, travertine and cave sediments mean that, where geological conditions are conducive, the dryland Quaternary record is a rapidly growing field. Established research on hominins and their temporal and environmental context, particularly in South Africa, has proven the importance of dryland caves and karst. Ongoing development in speleothem palaeoclimatology in African, Asian, American and Australian dryland caves are proving instrumental in elucidating long-standing questions in hydroclimate variability in the poorly- understood arid mid-latitudes.
This session will bring a diverse group of research and researchers together to explore the progress being made in this global exploration, and pool experience and expertise to accelerate progress in future projects. Any talk or poster concerning palaeoclimate or palaeontological / archaeological research within karst or cave environments in any global dryland is welcome. Prominence will be given to emerging projects and early career researchers, which will address long-standing data gaps in time and / or space. We particularly welcome presentations from researchers from countries not usually represented at International meetings, and urge established teams to include their local collaborators in a meaningful way.

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.

SISAL - Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis 
Scientific theme 5: Climate record, processes and models
Session #103: Terrestrial hydroclimates: towards quantification and climate model comparisons
Convened by: Kathryn Fitzsimmons (lead convener), Monika Markowska, Kira Rehfeld, Georgy Falster, Pavani Misra

Abstract: Water is central to life on Earth. Changes in precipitation frequency, intensity, seasonality, and amount relative to evapotranspiration significantly impact on both human societies and ecological systems over long and short timescales. Extreme events such as floods, droughts and wildfires can have devastating consequences.
Anthropogenically driven climate change is projected to considerably alter global hydroclimate, intensifying the hydrological cycle. So far, however, our understanding of the response of terrestrial rainfall patterns to anthropogenic forcing remains poor.
Sedimentary archives of past climates provide important insights into how hydroclimate varies internally within a system, and how it responds to natural perturbations in external forcing over a range of temporal and spatial scales. However, proxy records do not provide a complete picture of hydroclimate dynamics; for this we turn to long-term climate model simulations. This session aims to bring together researchers working on various terrestrial archives to generate quantitative reconstructions of past hydroclimate variability across scales, with researchers investigating hydroclimate variability in long model simulations. We particularly welcome cross- disciplinary submissions integrating climate reconstructions and model simulations, as well as research focusing on new tools for generating hydroclimatic datasets, proxy-model comparisons, proxy data syntheses, and proxy systems models.

SISAL - Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis 
Scientific theme 5D: Reconstruct past abrupt and extreme climate changes
Session #175: Uncertain Geochronologies: methods and applications to quantify climate change synchronicity and abrupt events while reconciling age uncertainty
Convened by: Nick Scroxton (lead convener), Rieneke Weij, Manfred Mudelsee

Abstract: High quality age models based on precise age determinations of fixpoints in natural climate archives are the bedrock of Quaternary research. As we move into an era of multi-archive, multi-site, regional climate reconstructions, it is increasingly important that we understand the impact of age-model uncertainty on our climatic inferences. Only by reconciling the age uncertainty inherent in multiple proxy records can we understand the synchronicity in climate variations, the rates of climate change, the size of climate extremes and the abruptness of climate transitions. Further, an increasing number of studies use age determinations as climatic or environmental proxies in their own right. For example, by measuring changes in the abundance of a climate archive through time. Here, age determination uncertainty is crucial in distinguishing between real climate signals and spurious effects. Age determination and age model uncertainty therefore represent a crucial frontier in Quaternary research.
In this session we welcome submissions that deal with age determination and age model uncertainty. This includes new records, multi-site climate reconstructions investigating synchronicity and regional climate dynamics, methodological development or from new records that use age determinations as the climatic and environmental proxy. We particularly welcome quantitative approaches, dealing with age model uncertainty using novel tools from computational statistics.

VICS - Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society
Scientific theme 5 - Climate record, processes and models
Session #120: "Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society"
Convened by: Kevin Anchukaitis, (lead convener), Michael SiglFrancis LudlowAllegra LeGrandeMatthew Toohey

Abstract: Volcanic eruptions can inject large amounts of material into the atmosphere, which affects the Earth’s climate system and human societies on across a range of spatial and temporal scales. This session will highlight novel results and insights emerging from interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts on the interactions between volcanic eruptions, climate variability and change, extreme events in the Earth system, and the history and archaeology of human society. We invite contributions focusing on one or more of the following topis: reconstruction of the climate and environmental consequences following eruptions, the effects imprinted in individual proxy records as well as proxy compilations, the analysis of volcanic effects using climate modeling experiments, and interdisciplinary research that seeks to understand how and to which extent volcanic eruptions contributed to shaping past societal changes.

ECN - Early Career Network
Scientific theme 3A - Geological and climate forcing on ancient societies and feedbacks
Session #130: Advancing paleoscience in underrepresented regions: promoting records of past socio-environmental systems in the Global South and beyond
Conveners: Giorgia Camperio (lead convener), Ignacio Jara, Nivedita Mehrota, Charuta KulkarniEmuobosa OrijemieXavier Benito, and the rest of PASES organizers.

Abstract: Interdisciplinary approaches are key to addressing current complex environmental issues such as ecosystem degradation and climate change adaptation. Despite their potential, collaborative initiatives in paleosciences are fraught with several challenges: 1) developing integrative methodologies for linking different types of proxies, 2) building integrative datasets global in scope, and 3) identifying strategies to put into practice the already acknowledged theoretical basis for impactful interdisciplinary studies. This session aims to highlight the complex dynamics among humans, climate, and the environment by means of exploring and analyzing Holocene records of socio-environmental systems, particularly from the regions historically marginalized from scientific collaborations, i.e., the Global South and other underrepresented regions (e.g. Southeast Europe). We seek contributions that apply interdisciplinary and inclusive approaches to determine drivers, magnitude, and rates of change of different components of past socio-environmental systems: environmental (pollen, charcoal, aquatic indicators, biomarkers), climate (speleothem, lake sediments, tree-rings, numerical simulations) and archaeological (archaeological radiocarbon dates, cultural material). This session aims to further stimulate collaborative avenues, giving continuity to the PAGES-INQUA ECRs workshop “Past Socio-Environmental Systems (PASES)”, and the INQUA-funded pSESYNTH project.

PAGES SSC and SSC Fellows 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.

Scientific theme 2A - Geomorphic processes and sedimentary record
Session #111: The impact of climate change on continental hydro-systems and their environmental response: a diachronic perspective from the East African Rift System
Conveners: Carlo Mologni, CNRS CEPAM-UMR7264/TRACES-UMR5608, Nice, France, (lead convener)
Asfawossen Asrat, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Palapye, Botswana / Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Andrea Zerboni, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy, Mathieu Schuster, CNRS ITES, Strasbourg, France, Ilaria Mazzini, CNR-IGAG, Rome, Italy

Abstract: East African Rift System (EARS) provide extremely sensitive records for climate reconstruction and modelling. However, recent climate and environmental sustainability studies lack focus on regional-to-local reactivity of specific Earth surface systems (hydrological, pedological, sedimentary, geomorphic). Given records of past and present global changes, current priority research topics in eastern Africa concern the dynamic of natural resources (water and soil), as well as vulnerability of the many processes interplaying along the Earth’s Critical Zone (ECZ) and controlling landscapes evolution.
The aim of this session is to bring together specialists of Earth surface processes and of pedo-sedimentary records to address fundamental scientific questions, such as: What are the impacts of climate changes on EARS landscapes, geo-eco-systems, and hydro-sedimentary dynamics? What is the role of Earth surface and/or of external factors (geomorphic, tectonic, volcanic or anthropic) on hydro-sedimentary and environmental patterns in the EARS? What are the consequences of global droughts on the dynamic of the ECZ in the EARS?
We welcome all contributions concerning sedimentology, soil science, geochemistry, geophysics, paleoclimatology, geomorphology, landscape modelling, and geoarchaeology which highlight the causes and effects of landscape and environmental evolution in the EARS throughout the Quaternary, offering a fresh
perspective on ongoing processes.

Scientific theme 5 - Climate record, processes and models
Session #31: Processes and feedbacks during glacial terminations
Convened by: R. Ivanovic, L. Lisiecki, H. Stoll, E. Capron (QUIGS leadership and SSC member), J. Gottschalk, L. Menviel (QUIGS leadership)

Abstract: Glacial terminations, i.e. transitions from a glacial to an interglacial state, represent intervals of strong natural global warming and large-scale climate reorganizations across the Quaternary. Positive feedbacks within the Earth’s system involving the global carbon cycle, ice-sheet dynamics and oceanic circulation played a significant role in shaping the timing and amplitude of glacial terminations. This session invites contributions from studies that provide an improved understanding of the processes and feedbacks occurring during glacial terminations of the last 500 kyrs. This includes both new paleo-proxy records, data syntheses and numerical simulations providing new constraints on changes in climate, global carbon cycle, continental ice-sheets and sea-level during glacial-interglacial transitions.

PAGES endorsed and affiliated groups

DEEPICE - Research and training network on understanding Deep icE corE Proxies to Infer past antarctiC climatE dynamics
Scientific theme 5 - Climate record, processes and models
Session #84: Extending the limits of ice core science beyond new analytical, conceptual and inter- disciplinary frontiers
Convened by: Barbara Stenni, Amaelle Landais, Carlo Barbante, Emilie Capron, Pascal Bohleber

Session description: The last IPCC report highlighted the remaining large uncertainties in the future evolution of the cryosphere with direct consequences on global sea level rise. Understanding the past climate variability and sensitivity from glacial archives is thus fundamental for placing the current changes in a longer-term context. The scientific ice core community is currently putting an enormous effort towards (1) retrieving the oldest continuous ice core from Antarctica (Project Beyond EPICA) and (2) training a new generation of ice core scientists capable of analysing, interpreting, and modelling the new records that will be obtained (ITN DEEPICE project). In addition, the ice cores retrieved in high-altitude/low-latitude glaciers are offering a wealth of paleoclimate information covering the last centuries and millennia, preserved in what it is called the third pole. This session welcomes contributions reporting new results or data/model studies related to ice cores drilled in both polar regions and mid-low latitude glaciers and covering temporal scales spanning from the last decades to glacial-interglacial cycles. Contributions presenting novel techniques for (1) analysing new proxies and increasing their resolution, (2) interpreting the paleoclimate records with new statistical techniques, (3) understanding the post-depositional processes potentially affecting the integrity of the records as well as new tools for (4) for dating and (5) modelling paleoclimatic signals, are welcomed.

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”.

PAGES-related sessions

Scientific theme 3B - Geoarchaeology: from landscape to site and back
Session #90: Ancient DNA from Quaternary and Archaeological sediments
Convened by: Laura Parducci (PaleoEcoGen member), Francesco Gentile Ficetola, Viviane Slon, Inger Alsos Greve, 
Tony Brown

Abstract: The extraction and analysis of ancient environmental DNA from Quaternary and archaeological sediments has the potential to revolutionize palaeoecology and archaeology and will likely expand fast in the next decades. The fast growth of this research avenue is driven, among others, by the following recent developments: a) ancient DNA can be retrieved from sediments and soils even in the absence of fossils, including that of ancient humans; b) ancient DNA has been shown to be preserved also outside the sub-Arctic and Arctic biomes; c) the costs of sequencing are decreasing; d) different techniques for data generation (including approaches such as shotgun sequencing and hybridization capture) are becoming more robust and allow for deeper taxonomic coverage; and e) the number of laboratories that use these methodologies has increased worldwide. Ancient environmental DNA is now being used more routinely alongside traditional proxies such as pollen and plant macrofossil to reconstruct ancient paleoenvironments and harbors the potential to investigate both human activities as well as the history of plants and pathogens microorganisms. This session invites papers using ancient DNA from sediments or soils from any site and any period. Methodological papers are also welcome.

Scientific theme 7: Time for change in Quaternary Sciences
Session #10: Visualising Science - The Art of communicating Science 
Convened by: Jill Pelto, Laura Parducci (PaleoEcoGen member), Stephen T. Jackson

Abstract: We all do excellent Quaternary research that deserves to be presented in the best possible way, and we all want to learn how to convey our research most effectively to our peers and to nonspecialist audiences. As fluent as we may be in writing or talking about our science and results from the past, we may still lack one essential element of scientific communication in our repertoire: the translation of our work into clear, aesthetically attractive, and pedagogically effective images and figures. Among the first scientists to use scientific illustrations effectively to generate and test scientific hypotheses was Alexander von Humboldt. His works have visually described landforms, vegetation, and individual plants and animals, demonstrated complex natural processes and concepts, and enabled us to see and better understand nature. Today science communication is a growing research field, whether through art, outreach, journalism, or other means, and creating ways to communicate science effectively requires that we continue to develop creative tools and collaborations.
In this session we will bring together Quaternary scientists who engage with art, science communication researchers, visual science communicators and scientific illustrators, to discuss current and future challenges and
opportunities in presenting scientific data and research from the Quaternary period.

PAGES-related workshops

Name: PCW1
Date: 12 July
Title: Exploring the interface between Sustainability and Palaeoecology
Convenors: Lindsey Gillson, Plant Conservation Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa: show mail address and Anneli Ekblom, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Uppsala, Sweden: show mail address

Description: As the world continues on its unsustainable trajectory towards “hothouse earth”, various attempts have been made to define a safe operating space for key biological and environmental processes. Defining these spaces can assist in stabilising earth system processes by returning them to “Holocene-like” conditions (Steffen et al. 2018).

Without longer-term data, we are tasked with trying to return a system to unknown conditions. For most ecosystems and processes, we do not have long-term data that spans key historical transitions e.g. the great acceleration (c. 1950), industrialisation and European colonisation (C17th – C19th), Medieval Climate Anomaly (C10th-C13th), mid-Holocene altithermal (9-5ka), beginning of agriculture (10+ka). These timespans are important in exploring the variability and resilience of key parameters including vegetation (land-cover), fire, nutrient cycles, water quality, pollution, soil erosion, information which could assist in defining safe operating spaces and mapping sustainable trajectories that stabilise essential earth system processes and associated ecosystem services.

The aim in this workshop is to explore how long-term data from palaeoecology, paleoclimatology, archaeology, use of documentary sources and repeat photographs and in combination with remote sensing techniques which allows for monitoring environmental change over decadal to millennial timescales, and to relate this to defining tipping points in social-ecological systems.
Furthermore, advances in quantitative palaeoecology can assist in identifying tipping points and regime shifts that can interface directly with the planetary boundaries literature.

The combination of these methodologies alongside other knowledge streams allows for a much needed temporal continuum from scales of millennia to months contributing to a better understanding of landscape change and variability. In addition, the combination of cross disciplinary approaches allows for a better understand of past and present management (positive and negative) and the range of interventions possible for landscape management today and in the future.

INQUA Awards

INQUA awards will be presented during the General Assembly 1
Date: Friday 14
Time: 08:00-10:00 UTC (10-12 am CET)

INQUA presents awards to scientists who distinguish themselves through contributions to Quaternary science and to INQUA. 

The winner of the 2021 Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal is Julie Loisel (USA).
Julie is co-leader of the PAGES C-PEAT working group. 
> Read the full PAGES story here 

The Liu Tungsheng Distinguished Career Medal for Distinguished Service to the International Community in Quaternary Science nominee is Denis-Didier Rousseau (France), and former PAGES EXCOM member. 

Plenary lectures of interest to the PAGES Community

Julie Brigham-Grette, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and PAGES Chair from 2000 - 2008

Wednesday, July 19

Julie Brigham-Grette has 40 years of research expertise in Arctic climate change recorded in the ocean and terrestrial sediment records of Beringia. She is especially knowledgeable about climate change over the last few million years, including the history of Arctic Sea ice, sea level change, and western Arctic landscape change. She is currently engaged with the people of Mekoryuk and Kongiganak AK via the NSF Navigating the New Arctic Program and landscape change. She was Chair of the Polar Research Board of the US National Academy of Sciences (2014- 2020) and Past-President of the American Geophysical Union Global Environmental Change section, Past-President of the Quaternary Division of the Geological Society of America. Brigham-Grette is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America.

The Pliocene-Quaternary Evolution of the Arctic: the messy transition from Forest to Tundra, and now our return to the Pliocene.

The geologic record paleoenvironmental change across the Arctic since 4 million years ago provides insights into natural experiments of the impacts of climate change. The Arctic borderlands were mostly forested to the coast of the Arctic Ocean 3 million years ago and it’s likely that sea ice existed only during the Pliocene winters. The Greenland Ice sheet did not yet exist except for tidewaters glaciers exiting the high mountains of eastern Greenland. Global temperatures were only about 3 degrees warmer than today. 

However, the transition from that warm “blue arctic” to one supporting a glaciated Greenland was punctuated by numerous super interglacials, possibly coinciding with the repeated collapse of Greenland and likely partial deglaciation of parts of west Antarctica. Evidence of exceptionally warm Arctic interglacials from Lake El’gygytgyn NE Russia, combined with new evidence for the periodic collapse of the W. and E. Antarctic Ice Sheet and Greenland drives the need to reassess climate sensitivity and cryosphere dynamics on many timescales. 

Some questions remain about the timing for the onset of perennial vs seasonal sea ice across the Arctic Basin around the time of the MPT. Moreover, our binary view of the Bering Strait arctic gateway – as a 50 m deep seaway either flooded or subaerially exposed depending on global sea level over the past 2 milllion years – is driving new questions across scientific disciplines ranging from paleoceanography to climate modeling. A simply eustatic view of this gateway will require cross-disciplinary efforts to incorporate terrestrial, oceanographic, environmental, genomic, tectonic, and Indigenous perspectives on the history of Beringian terrestrial and oceanographic connections. 

Paleoclimate evidence of the polar cryosphere response to elevated global temperatures of only 2-3 degrees (or less) combined with polar amplification presages a warming future, partially hidden in recent years by the lagged response of the oceans, atmosphere, and cryosphere to anthropogenic influences. Our future will depend on the ability of societies to recognize and respond to the consequences of significant environmental change. The challenge to the science community is to communicate this data-driven reality.

Pradeep Srivastava, Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Roorkee, India and current PAGES SSC member 

Thursday, July 20

Pradeep Srivastava is a trained sedimentologist and geomorphology who has >20 years of working experience in the Quaternary landscape of Himalaya and its foreland. He researches has helped understanding the (i) fluvial aggradation and incision processes as function of climate and tectonics of Himalaya and the Ganga Plain (ii) past and present extreme hydrological events in Himalaya. He has published >100 research articles from across NW & NE Himalaya. He serves as an Associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology at Roorkee. Pradeep is a member of international science steering committee of Past Global Changes and is recipient of GK Gilbert Award of AAG, USA. He serves on the editorial boards of INQUA’s flagship journal: Quaternary International and Journal of Quaternary Science (Wiley) and Paleo-3 (Elsevier). He is Vice President of Association of Quaternary Researchers in India and is an elected fellow of the Indian National Science Academy.

Geology floods in Himalaya 

The increasing frequency of large floods and population in Himalaya compounds the fragility of this active mountain belt into successively bigger hydrological disasters.

The sedimentary archives of floods inform greatly on how the continental scale geology of Himalaya controls the flood magnitude and damage to infrastructure and society. The geology of Himalaya comprises several southward propagating thrust sheets that are separated by major thrust zones like the Main Central Thrust (MCT), the Main Boundary Thrust and the Himalayan Frontal Thrust and build a unique orography. 

It is the geometry of the Décollement of Himalayan wedge that induces duplexing below the MCT zone and steep rise in the topography that acts as an orographic barrier to northerly trajectory of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM). The geomorphic investigations after the 2013 large flood in Himalaya exhibited damage clustering over this zone that implied linkages between Décollement geometry and intensity of flood hazard. Similarly, the continental scale geomorphology of the Southern edge of Tibet seems forcing the flood intensities in the rivers Indus and the Brahmaputra that are orders of magnitude higher in the later catchment.

The large part of these rivers drain through drier northern front of Himalaya and the knowledge on their water-sediment routing, erosional hotspots and ISM-flood dynamics is much warranted. Geochronology, sediment and provenance studies on the Slack Water Deposits (SWDs) preserved along the rivers like the Indus, the Brahmaputra provided a detailed geological perspective on (i) predictability of damage zones in Himalaya (ii) flood magnitudes in these rivers and geological controls (ii) erosional hotspots (iii) How ISM variability controls the flood frequencies in these rivers? (iv) do the floods control Human migration? The talk will dwell on the field and laboratory datasets and will attempt answer these questions.

ECR Events

Monday 17 July, 13:00 - 15:00
Organizing the INQUA-PAGES ECR workshop: the PASES experience

Room 301/ Building Legge (CU002)

You can also find out more about the topic of this event in the latest PAGES Magazine on "Advancing past socio–environmental systems science", p.39 by Klamt A-M, et al. on "Advice on how to organize an ECR workshop: Lessons learned during PASES 2022" and p. 48 by Benito et al. on "Early-career researchers embrace interdisciplinary paleosciences: The joint PAGES–INQUA workshop" .


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: show mail address
Visit website:

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