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The call for abstracts is now closed. Thank you for all the submissions.
The results will be known very shortly.
Oral and Poster Presentations
Oral and poster presentations will be primarily organised into sessions by AFQUA according to topic and/or region, and it is not necessary for presenters to conform their abstracts to a particular session
In addition, there will also be a series of Focus Sessions, which will highlight particular research themes. For 2018, these will be:
Focus Sessions
FS01: Dating and correlation of African archives of environmental change and archaeology
Convener(s): Catherine Martin-Jones, Debra Colarossi, Simon Armitage & Maarten Blaauw
Description: Piecing together a continental-scale picture of Quaternary environmental change in Africa, is essential for understanding the interaction between different components of the global and regional climate system, and for assessing the validity of causal linkages between environmental change and the archaeological record. This involves comparison of widespread and diverse archives, including terrestrial, marine and archaeological records, which must be independently dated. Furthermore, if we are to explore centennial to millennial variability, we require both accurate and precise chronologies. These requirements are challenging in many environmental contexts, in particular for older time periods (e.g. beyond the limits of 14C dating), and for the sites, settings and proxies where the only applicable direct dating technique is OSL or U-series, for which uncertainties on individual age determinations may exceed 10%. Making inter-site and inter-regional correlations therefore demands a multidisciplinary approach and an awareness of the uncertainties within our data. This session aims to explore and discuss methods for and examples of, the dating and correlation of archives of environmental change and/or archaeology across Africa. We particularly encourage submission of papers addressing continental-scale environmental reconstructions, attempts to improve the consistency of chronologies within and between comparable sites, and studies tackling the comparison of records from very different climatic and environmental regimes.
FS02: Quantitative palaeoclimatology, modelling and data-model comparisons
Convener(s): Qiong Zhang & Manuel Chevalier
Description: It is widely recognized that the (hydro)climate of Africa is extremely variable across space and time. To identify the drivers and feedback at the origin of these large-scale changes, climate models are an indispensable tool as they can be used to simulate, understand and predict the mean state and variability of the climate system. Data-model comparisons are the best way to test the performance of these models in simulating different climate scenarios, such as past periods when the climate was radically different. This process allows for model improvements and increasing our confidence in the ability of models for both short- and long-term climate projections. This session will showcase the latest progress involving climate models in Africa and we invite contributions for oral and poster presentation that involve climate models, such as – but certainly not limited to – simulations of the African Humid Period, data-model comparisons of key periods of the past (e.g. the mid-Holocene and/or the Last Glacial Maximum), or studies involving the most recent water isotope enabled models. We also welcome presentations about statistical methods that render palaeo-data more directly comparable with climate model outputs.
FS03: The environmental context for hominin evolution and dispersal
Convener(s): Frank Schaebitz, Asfawossen Asrat, Henry Lamb, Martin Trauth & Christine Ogola
Description: The impacts of changing environment and climate on Hominin evolution and dispersal have been a subject of discussion during the last several decades. With the availability of more paleoclimate and paleo-environmental data (such as high resolution lacustrine and marine sedimentary records, stable isotope records on speleothems, archaeological records, and palaeoclimate modelling), this discussion has recently intensified. These studies indicate that the role of climate and environmental change on hominin evolution and dispersal were much more complex than previously thought. Moreover, even if climate and environment changes in Africa happened more or less simultaneously, they greatly differ regionally in character and strength, and many questions remain to be answered regarding the environmental context of hominin evolution and dispersal.
     With this session we would like to continue the discussion about the reasons for and the time frame of human evolution and dispersal based on new data produced with different methodology and in interdisciplinary approaches. We invite scientists to submit abstracts on paleoecology, palaeoclimate, and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions with a regional focus on Africa, but links to human dispersal histories in Arabia, Southern Europe and Asia are also welcome. We hope to bring together experts from different scientific fields to share new ideas and results about the fascinating and complex history of our ancestors.
FS04: African Archaeological Landscapes
Convener(s): Sallie Burrough, Jason Lewis, Kathryn Ranhorn, David Thomas & Christian Tryon
Description: Ancestral and early humans in Africa lived in landscapes and ecosystems that may have been very different (or very similar) to those in which the archaeological remains are found today- ideas that have been explored since the work of pioneers such as Louis and Mary Leakey, Desmond Clark, Karl Butzer and others. This session focuses on better understanding and reconstructing the Quaternary environments and human use of the African landscape in both open and rock-shelter archaeological sites. We invite papers that focus on environment-early human interactions; the problems of separating climate and environmental signals in archaeological contexts; the role that both rock shelters and open sites played in the evolution of human settlement and subsistence patterns; methodological advances that allow stronger palaeoenvironment-early human associations to be developed; technological organization, archaeological patterns of landscape and resource use relative to spatial environmental variations, and case studies that link to the themes above.
FS05: Africa on Fire: state-of-the-art and perspectives about fire history, fire ecology and fire-vegetation-climate interactions across tropical biomes
Convener(s): Julie Aleman & Boris Vannière
Description: Fire in Africa is used by people for land-use activities (agriculture, herding, hunting, etc) and remains the dominant management tool in protected and non-protected areas. Future rainfall changes are expected to significantly impact regional fire regimes with nonlinear responses from the moist Afromontane forest to savanna grasslands. Moreover, human-modified fire regimes are widely considered by scientists to contribute to tropical ecosystem degradation, because fires participate to convert forest into open ecosystems and because artificial fire regime can also change savanna productivity and potentially herbivory. The last IPCC report recommends decreasing the use of fire in savannas to avoid fire propagation and uncontrolled catastrophic fire events into adjacent forests. These policy recommendations, however, lack information about the regulating or intermediate-disturbance role of fire in ecosystem equilibrium, the socio-environmental role of fire and about the long-term linkages between ecosystem functioning and fire in African forest and savanna systems.
        Little is known about past trends in biomass burning, and about the way sedimentary records of the past in tropical areas can be used to inform ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, and to improve our understanding of fire ecology and fire practices in general. Millennial and high chronological-resolution fire records are thus urgently needed to document the climate, vegetation and land-use interplay in tropical areas, and understand the extent to which future fire regimes will affect ecosystem health and services, and the global carbon balance. In this session, we solicit contributions from various disciplines (ecology, archeology, geosciences, climate change research,…) and approaches related to fire history, land use with fire, fire risk assessment, ecosystem vulnerability to fire, fire benefits, fire drivers, fire modeling and fire projections for the future. The goal of this session is to gather the latest advances in the multi-faceted role of fire in Africa and to improve our understanding of the interactions among fire, vegetation, climate and societies that will ultimately pave the way for new perspectives and a better understanding of these complex interactions. 
FS06: African palaeoecology and archaeology perspectives on land use transformation: Africa Landuse6K 
Convener(s): Rob Marchant, Emmanuel Ndiema & Paul Lane
Description: African landscapes today are the result of the cumulative effects of climate and land-use change over millennial timescales. Throughout Africa there have been a series of relatively rapid and high-magnitude environmental shifts characterised by changing hydrological budgets during the mid- to late Holocene. The past 6000 years have also seen significant changes in African hydroclimate, and in human interactions with East African ecologies. From the mid-Holocene, land use has both diversified and increased exponentially, this has been associated with the arrival of new subsistence systems, crops, migrants and technologies, all giving rise to a sequence of major phases of land-cover change. We welcome papers from the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental communities that document land-cover change, and environmental, subsistence and land-use transitions, over the past 6000 years.  This session is part of the wider PAGES LandCover6k initiative that is galvanising archaeologists and palaeoecologists to piece together a global map of land cover change. The major aim of these reconstructions is to provide empirical information on anthropogenic land-cover change to climate modellers for the study of climate-vegetation interactions over time.
FS07: Intra- Interhemispheric teleconnections
Convener(s): Brian Chase
Description: This session will highlight research being conducted within both the terrestrial and marine environments of the Africa that clarifies 1) the nature of teleconnections within and between hemispheres, and 2) the underlying drivers of climate change. Presentations are welcome on palaeoclimate reconstruction, geochronology, palaeoecology and climate modelling covering any of the last 60 kyr. Particular foci of the session will be the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition, climatic trends during the Holocene, changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation, changes in monsoon systems and terrestrial-marine-cryosphere connections. Presentations that use multi-proxy integration approaches and model-proxy linkages are also strongly encouraged.
FS08: Applying the Quaternary: the role of the past in supporting the future
Convener(s): Rob Marchant, Stephen Rucina Mathai and Lindsey Gillson
Description: Africa, more than many continents, is highly reliant on the natural capital and resources for underpinning many national economies. Many African countries have predominantly agricultural or pastoral sectors that in many cases are facing a series of challenges around intensification and the growing populations. Climate change, and how this will impact on ecosystems, is highly uncertain, likewise, the associated impacts on biodiversity, protected areas and socioeconomic benefits are largely unknown. As these pressures continue to intensify and modify areas, there is a need for policies and practice to promote appropriate adaptation strategies. Before this can occur, an integrated understanding of environmental sensitivities to climate change is needed, as is an appreciation of how people perceive environmental change and the efficacy of current adaptation strategies.  This session welcomes papers from a wide range of disciplines on how a Quaternary perspective on change can be used to assess the challenges to future management of natural capital and resources.
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