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About the lecture:

Historians and archaeologists have long debated the processes that ended the ancient world and gave rise to the civilizations of Byzantium, the medieval West, and Islam. The advances of archaeology are delivering ever more material pieces of the past that are suitable for expanding scientific toolkits, featuring ancient DNA, ice cores, and digital humanities. Come learn how—from senior faculty members to freshmen—historians, archaeologists, geneticists, biomolecular archaeologists, and computer and climate scientists at Harvard University are working together, and in concert with our American and international partners, to expand what we know about the fall of Rome and the origins of Byzantium, as science, archaeology, and history combine to begin a new day in the discovery of ancient and medieval civilization.

About the speaker:

Michael McCormick is the Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard University, Director of the Max Planck - Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean, and chair of Harvard’s Initiative for the Science of the Human Past. Under this cross-disciplinary Initiative, historians and archaeologists work together with scientists and other scholars and apply scientific tools resulting in breaking new ground in the study of the human past. Understanding migration and human health history through DNA analysis, compiling a Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization, or studying ice cores to assess human-climate interactions over two millennia are some examples of the Initiative’s pioneering research directions.