"Lessons from the past: archaeology, anthropology and the future of food" - Conference

Past Event

23 August 2018, 10:30am - 6:45pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

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The conference is organised by The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and The British Museum, in collaboration with the Subsistence and sustainability [AHRC] and Nubian traditional knowledge and agricultural resilience [ARHC and GCRF] projects.

Today’s challenge of feeding an ever increasing population requires a whole food systems approach to agricultural and food security research, in order to deliver productive, resilient and sustainable food and farming. The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are huge, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, localised pollution, and water, forest, land and biodiversity loss. Conversely, climate change, water scarcity, rising global temperatures, and extreme weather will also have severe long-term effects on agricultural production.

Archaeological, historical, and anthropological research are all underdeveloped resources in modern agricultural sustainability studies, but are tools well-suited to investigating food security and agricultural development over time under different challenges. The study of subsistence systems from the ancient past through to the last century can provide insight into future agricultural resilience by exploring the role, value and cultivation of local food crops in parts of the world where dramatic changes are seen. Local information about changing agrobiodiversity and long-term regional crop histories can add essential value and context to debates concerning future agricultural strategies and interventions, especially around new crop introductions or utilising ‘forgotten’ or increasingly underused cereals and pulses.

This conference brings together leading researchers and practitioners to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the field of global food security.

Registration has now closed.


  • Full conference fee - £28
  • Student/Unwaged fee- £18

Please send any enquiries to futureoffood@oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk