Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 07:53:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: William Waldren <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: ISLANDS IN PREHISTORY 2001
An international conference, World Islands in Prehistory 2001, will be held
from the 13th to 18th of September, 2001. It will take place on the Spanish
Balearic Island of Mallorca high in the island’s northern Jurassic Sierras
in the picturesque, coastal, mountain village of Deia and the site of three
former international conferences.
Islands are idiosyncratic by nature, showing great variability in material
resources, in the life forms and human societies they nurtured and
developed throughout time. Their inherent and immense variability in size,
location and mainland proximity, geology and natural resources guarantees
Islands are also places of paradox in that, despite their variability, they
share common, unwritten, almost irrevocable natural laws which control and
shape their destinies. In turn these are often quite different from mainland
situations. They are inhabited by mainly predator-less, limited animal
populations that are often highly specialized and oddly modified in
function. Dwarfism of the macrofauna, giantism of the microfauna and such
phenomena as flightless birds are some of the adaptations found quite
commonly throughout the islands of the world. In turn, these evolutionary
processes and mechanisms of change and adaptation are controlled by forces,
for need of a better definition, largely flotsam and jetsam in nature, where
island population and outside influences arrive sporadically from many
different directions, either by accident or design.
In the study of islands, it is the normal view to observe the island from
the shore, where little detail of internal or reciprocal interaction present
on them can be seen. It is only those who have worked on islands who are
aware of the complex worlds they are, and the unique problems involved in
their study and that originally shaped them. For islands in their inherent
isolation are highly individual worlds where their differences and
similarities, both obvious and subtle, make them excellent places from which
to observe and reflect the outside world, often in advance of world events.
At a time when global attention is focused on ecological conditions as they
transpire continentally, island environmental studies should be paramount,
for here lies many of the sign posts of the future. As the world's islands
will undoubtedly feel the first serious effects of global warming and rising
sea levels, they form a potential barometer for changing global conditions.
With this in mind, the current conference on world islands in prehistory is
timely and important. For in their fossil records and evidence of past
climatic conditions, there are many lessons to be learned and information to
be gained, regarding both the present and the future, evidence most of which
will assuredly change or even disappear with the environmental alteration of
the islands themselves.
Conference papers are now being solicited along with resumés. Resumés can be
up to 4000 words. Early registration and submissions are encouraged. These
resumés will be published by Archaeopress and B.A.R (British Archaeological
Reports) well in advance, so that conference members and colleagues will be
well prepared for discussion by the time of the conference.
The subjects of papers will include any prehistoric investigation dealing
with early insular ecology (flora, fauna), environment (geology, geography,
climate, resources), early human cultures (society, economics and religion
as well as technology ).
A few papers dealing with important themes, pertinent to present world
conditions and research will also be accepted, to give balance, general
continuity and interest to the whole. Further details and registration
forms will be provided on request via e-mail fax or post.
W. Waldren, Chairman
[email addresses: [log in to unmask] or
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william.waldren@ linacre.ox.ac.uk or
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See also www.briegull.com/waldren/conf.