Investigating Medieval History with Science
What can ice samples tell us about medieval economic collapse and about the possible consequences of climate change in today’s world? How do scientists and historians work together to enrich each other’s work? As chair of the Initiative for the Science of Human Past at Harvard, Michael McCormick contends with just these questions. Bridging libraries and labs, his research projects range broadly from human and disease genetics of ancient migrations and pandemics, paleoclimate reconstruction, the scientific archaeological investigation of a lost Visigothic royal city, and various digital humanities projects. In this talk, McCormick will present the potential, methods, and some early results of ongoing scientific investigation of the civilization of medieval western Eurasia.
Michael McCormick focuses on developing new archaeological, scientific, and textual approaches to the fall of the Roman Empire. His books include the prize-winning Origins of the European Economy and Charlemagne’s Survey of the Holy Land. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and many others. He is the general editor of the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations, a student-created free data distribution site based at Harvard.