Human action and landscape transformation in the estuaries of the Basque coast: contributions from Archeology
March 12, 2024 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
With nearly 1.5 million inhabitants, the Basque coast is a densely populated region where the main urban areas are located in and around the estuaries, many of them―e.g. Bilbao, San Sebastian or Bayonne―having developed from commercial port centres originated during the Middle Ages. These urban areas experienced a spiked development in the context of the Industrial Revolution, from the late-19th century onwards. However, their rapid expansion was facilitated by previous socio-economic processes, including the introduction of American crops —e.g., maize— and the reclamation of large parts of former wetlands with agrarian purposes.
These dynamics have been recently addressed by the Erriberak research project, based on the combination of historical and geoarchaeological methods. The evolution of landscape dynamics in the estuaries of the Basque coast has been addressed as the translation of evolving human-environment interactions, with a special focus on the period comprised between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. The study has combined the analysis of archival sources, extensive field survey, and sediment core sampling. The results show an unequal impact of land reclamation in different estuaries depending on previous socio-economic and environmental factors. Chronological decalages have also been observed. However, it can be said that land reclamation was overall a driving factor of the anthropisation of the estuarine environments over the Modern Period, with a sharp intensification from the 18th century onwards. The present-day urban and land management is widely a result of those processes, so their understanding becomes key for the planification of future solutions.
With this seminar we aim to create the arena for the debate on what to adapt, what to conserve, how to reduce landscape vulnerabilities to adapt to climate change. We think this seminar would be for special interests for those researchers working on SO 3 and 4 and want to find convergences, but also for every research that is based in the Basque Country and want to understand better the interconnections between humans and landscape in the long run.
About the lecturer
Josu Narbarte is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of the Basque Country and a research collaborator at the Aranzadi Science Society. His research focuses on the history of human-environment interactions and their impact on the present landscape, including the anthropogenic transformation of topographic, hydrographic and soil features, and the development of vernacular ecological knowledge. His methodological skills comprise the analysis of archival records, the study of micro-toponymy (both Basque and Romance), archaeological survey, excavation, and the characterisation of archaeosedimentary records through core sampling. He has conducted research projects on a variety of contexts across the Basque Country and the Iberian Peninsula, financed by the Basque Government, the Government of Navarre, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, the Geopark of the Basque Coast, and different municipalities (e.g., Hondarribia, Baztan, Agoitz, Andosilla). Besides his research activity, he develops a scientific divulgation activity through the realisation of guided walks, conferences, and the publication of periodical reports and articles on the Argia weekly magazine.
Sede Building (Room Aketxe), Scientific Park of the University of the Basque Country, March 12 (2024), 12:00-13:00
In case you are interested in attending the seminar, please complete the following registration form.
Limited registration until full capacity.