CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

Human History of Marine Life: Extraction, Knowledge, Drivers & Consumption of Marine Resources, c.100 BCE to c.1860 CE

Project description

Advancing our understanding of the marine resources’ role in human history

How did marine life affect and alter societies of the past? This is one of the key questions the EU-funded 4-OCEANS project will seek to answer by investigating the importance of marine life for human societies during the last two millennia, from 100 BCE to 1860 CE. Bringing together expertise from marine environmental history, climate history, natural history, geography, historical ecology, genomics and zooarchaeology, the project will conduct the first-ever global assessment of the role of marine life in societal development and will consider how selected socio-economic, cultural and environmental forces limited as well as enabled marine exploitation.

Objective

4-OCEANS aims to assess the importance of marine life for human societies during the last two millennia. We contend that the harvest of marine resources played a critical, but as yet underappreciated and poorly understood, role in global history. To bridge this gap in our understanding, the four PIs will form an interdisciplinary team combining expertise in marine environmental history, climate history, natural history, geography, historical ecology and zooarchaeology. We will examine when and where marine exploitation was of significance to human society; how selected major socio-economic, cultural, and environmental forces variously constrained and enabled marine exploitation; and identify the consequences of marine resource exploitation for societal development. Through these objectives we will discover how marine resources as novel wealth altered societies throughout history. How might marine wealth have enabled some societies to escape food shortages? How did it trigger long-term socio-economic impacts and ecological consequences? How were marine resources valued, consumed, and energetically transformed? Revealing this history will open a new window on human-nature dynamics of profound importance for understanding developmental trajectories of human societies. 4-OCEANS will transcend the binary distinctions of East and West, global-north and global-south, indigenous and colonial, resource exploitation and wildlife conservation, nature and culture. In doing so, 4-OCEANS will uncover and chart historical trajectories towards sustainable and unsustainable food security and resource extraction, identifying their complex underlying drivers.

Host institution

THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD, OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN
Net EU contribution
€ 4 907 047,50
Address
COLLEGE GREEN TRINITY COLLEGE
D02 CX56 DUBLIN 2
Ireland

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Region
Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 4 907 047,50

Beneficiaries (7)