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Colloquium will put Greenland archaeology in focus

Thursday, April 11, 2019

LAWRENCE — Climate change in Greenland and how it poses a threat to archaeological heritage will be explored in an upcoming presentation by Hans Harmsen, archaeologist and curator of the Greenland National Museum & Archives.

Harmsen will present "Vanishing Histories: Greenland, Climate Change & the Threat to Archaeological Heritage" at 4 p.m. April 19 in 317 Lindley Hall. A meet and greet will precede the colloquium at 3:30 p.m. in 205 Lindley Hall. All are welcome to the events.

Greenland, like many other places in the Arctic, is experiencing rapid environmental changes because of shifting climate. These changes are having profound consequences for the survival of Greenland’s archaeology. For example, increasing soil temperatures, perennial thawing, coastal and wind erosion, aggressive plant species and human impacts are increasingly causing damage to archaeological sites once known to be well-preserved.

Scholars say it is not a question anymore of if it will disappear but when. In response to this challenge, the Greenland National Museum and its partners have begun several initiatives to understand these changes and take steps to collect as much information about Greenland’s past as possible before it is too late.

Much of this work requires developing new partnerships with local communities and training the next generation of Greenlandic archaeologists that will have to address this imminent threat to the loss of heritage in the coming years and decades.

The colloquium is sponsored by the Center for Indigenous Science, Research & Technology, the Institute for Policy & Social Research, the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science and the Spencer Museum of Art.