Why did some Mediterranean civilizations fall and others endure? How were societies impacted by natural catastrophes such as droughts, forest fires, and volcanic eruptions—and over what time frame?
The Center for Mediterranean Archeology and the Environment (CMATE) aims to fill in the gaps in the Mediterranean timeline and complete a 10,000-year tree-ring chronology of the region.
On Wednesday (Sept. 30) at 3:30 p.m., Charlotte Pearson will be at the Arizona Senior Academy to lead the audience on a Mediterranean tour that focuses on the range of evidence CMATE researchers use to study human and environmental interactions.
Pearson is a University of Arizona geoarchaeologist and dendrologist who analyzes and dates tree rings to determine major climatic events of the past.
She is also the associate director of CMATE, the new interdisciplinary research center in the UA Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research, where the science of dendrology began nearly a century ago. CMATE brings together tree-ring scientists, geologists, anthropologists, and experts in radiocarbon dating seeking answers to some critical unresolved questions in the history of the Mediterranean.
A highlight of the talk at the Senior Academy will be a visit to the “Emperor’s Lost Harbor” in Istanbul’s Yenikapi district, which has been called “the greatest nautical archaeological site ever discovered.”
In 2004, as excavations began for a new high-speed train tunnel, the discovery of 37 well-preserved shipwrecks dating from the fifth to the eleventh century brought construction to a temporary halt—and archaeologists from all over the world. The ships and ancient oak pier pilings hide a trove of clues to trade and climate variations in Byzantine times. CMATE has collected some 4,000 samples from the site.
A native of Wales, Pearson was associated with the school of Human and Environmental Sciences at the University of Reading, UK, before working as a research associate and manager of the Cornell tree-ring laboratory from 2007-2012.
Written by Caroline Bates, Academy Village volunteer