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Climate of the past and societal responses to environmental changes

Bern, Switzerland
E-Mail address
Working groups


Date: 5–8 June 2024 
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Venue: UniS, Schanzeneckstr. 1, 3001 Bern in Room 003


This workshop is a joint activity of three members from PAGES working groups: 

Heli Huhtmaa - Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies (CRIAS); 
Martin Hinz - PalEOclimate and the PeopLing of the Earth (PEOPLE 3000); and
Joseph Manning - Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society (VICS).

The workshop aims to explore historical climate change's societal impact, including Holocene climate shifts in cultural contexts, societal responses, vulnerability, resilience, and past environmental changes (e.g. water levels, glaciers, volcanic eruptions) that affected human societies.

The conference spans a wide chronological, geographical, and thematic range, covering periods from the late Pleistocene and Holocene to Historic periods.


The Interdisciplinary Conference 'Climate of the Past and Societal Responses to Environmental Changes' follows successful scientific events in 2014 and 2019. The 2014 conference (Bern, Switzerland), organized by Martin Grosjean and Albert Hafner, focused on 'Culture, Climate, and Environment Interactions at Prehistoric Wetland Sites'. In 2019, Paul Erdkamp and Joseph G. Manning organized the conference 'Climate and Society in Ancient Worlds: Diversity in Collapse and Resilience' in Brussels, Belgium, centering on the ancient history of the Mediterranean.

In contrast, the 2024 joint conference, organized by the Universities of Bern, and Yale, New Haven, USA, takes a broader approach, encompassing societal responses to historical climate changes, the evolution of societies, institutions, and economies. The conference spans a wide chronological, geographical, and thematic range, covering periods from the late Pleistocene and Holocene to Historic periods and all anthropogenic societies, irrespective of their economic base, degree of specialization, or locality.

The conference additionally serves as a platform for showcasing results from ongoing SNF, NSF, and ERC research projects. It provides a valuable opportunity, especially for early-career researchers, to present their work. 

Key speakers

To be confirmed.

Financial assistance

There are funds available for early-career researchers and/or researchers from low- and middle-income countries. Please contact the organizers for more information. 


All European participants are strongly advised to travel to the workshop venue by land only (by train or bus). In addition, the conference venue, who is providing the meals over the workshop, will be requested to use mainly plant-based locally and biologically produced ingredients.

Further information

Please visit the website here.

Code of Conduct

Please refer to the PAGES Code of Conduct here