Climate Change: A threat to archaeological heritage?

August 19, 202112PM - 1PM EDT

ICOMOS Canada is launching a webinar series exploring the impact of climate change on places of science.

On August 19th, 12PM-1PM EDT, we are hosting University of Toronto Professor Dr. Max Friesen and Dr. Meredith Wiggins for a discussion on the many threats posed by climate change on the conservation of archaeological sites. This webinar will look at the importance of taking a multidisciplinary approach in addressing climate change and will provide concrete examples for climate scientists, heritage practitioners and policymakers in supporting their climate action efforts.

Dr. Meredith Wiggins is an archaeologist and researcher working at the intersection of international development, culture, and climate change. Originally from Miami, Meredith travelled to England for her Masters and PhD. After gaining her doctorate in 2014, Meredith worked for Historic England (the UK Government’s advisor on historic preservation issues), in the fields of urban planning, foresight, and climate adaptation and mitigation. During her time with Historic England, Meredith developed a foresight methodology for climate change adaptation for cultural heritage, a decision-making tool to help local governments prioritize action for coastal heritage, and led research investigating the role existing buildings can play in meeting ambitious climate and decarbonization targets. In 2019 she returned to the USA to take up a Fellowship in Washington D.C. with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which saw her bringing her expertise to bear on issues in international development and foreign policy. Meredith is currently Global Climate Change Lead for INRM, a 5 year, USAID-funded interdisciplinary development mechanism. She is particularly interested in understanding the effects of climate change on the transmission of cultural identities, and also in promoting the role that knowledge of the past can play both in sustainable development and a Just Transition to a decarbonized world.

Max Friesen is a professor and graduate chair in the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto. He is an archaeologist specializing in the history of Inuit Nunangat (the Canadian Arctic). His research explores how the linkages between social organization, world view, economy, technology, environment, and landscape have shaped northern peoples’ lives over the past 5,000 years. He has performed fieldwork in many locations in the Central and Western Arctic, with particular focus in the Cambridge Bay region of Nunavut and the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories. His research is performed in close collaboration with Inuit communities and organizations, and is intended to have a positive impact in the North as well as in academic contexts. Among his recent publications is The Oxford Handbook of the Prehistoric Arctic (Oxford University Press, 2016), for which he served as senior co-editor.