Welcome to the official homepage of the Basel Climate, Disease, & Ancient History Lab! Since 2018, we are an interdisciplinary initiative by the Institute of Ancient History at the University of Basel, focused on research collaborations bridging the traditional gap between the natural sciences and the humanities. Viewing the Graeco-Roman world of Antiquity through not only a historical, but also an archeological and a paleoclimatological lens, the Lab analyzes the Mediterranean's rich historical sources and natural proxies to better understand the close interactions between environmental changes and socio-political developments.
This year, Institute head Prof. Dr. Sabine R. Huebner was awarded a 4-year SNSF grant for the multidisciplinary project »The Roman Egypt Laboratory: Climate Change, Societal Transformations, and the Transition to Late Antiquity« (2021–2025). Using Roman Egypt as a case study, the project takes an unprecedented approach to tackling the third century CE as a period of extensive transformation, often considered as marking the transition between the High Roman Empire and Late Antiquity. Jointly deploying paleoclimate proxies and historical literary and documentary sources for the study of the human past, this methodology allows for a more cohesive interpretation of the century in question. The project aims to expand the understanding of societal transformation and environmental evolution through a detailed historical analysis, generating new approaches and research questions by integrating the climate sciences. With this integration of multiple perspectives, it will substantially advance our knowledge of this perhaps most critical century in Roman history and offer a reassessment of the closing of the Imperial age and thus, as a whole, a re-evaluation of Roman Empire at the dawn of Late Antiquity.