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Advanced Research Workshop (ARW)

Location: Bucharest, Romania

Date: October 1-5, 2003

Program - Organisation Committee - List of Participants

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The main objectives of the NATO ARW were:

  1. to discuss the actual status of our knowledge about the influence of the climate change and tectonics on the migration of the coastline as factors for human development in the Circumpontic Region,
  2. to identify the main achievements to date, as well as the gaps in knowledge,
  3. to discuss a scientific approach for integrating geological, prehistoric, historic and instrumental data (for the past century) to predict future geoecological situation in the region for risk assessment in coastal zones under various sea-level scenarios,
  4. to reach a consensus on the issues and develop a joint research strategy for future collaboration, and
  5. to prepare a proposal "Climate change and migration of the coastline as factors for human development in the Circumpontic Region: from past to forecast" for the NATO Science for Peace Sub-Programme.

The Circumpontic Region is defined here in a larger sense as simply geographical one. It covers a large area from the ancient Manych Strait that lies to the north-east of the Black Sea, the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, the Bosporus Strait, the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanells, the Aegean Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean (Turkey, Israel, Cyprus) and their coasts. This region is of strategic importance not only for eight coastal countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Israel) but also for at least 17 other countries, which share the drainage basin of the Circumpontic Region, that is more than one-third the size of the European continent. This region, especially the Black Sea, is where migration of the coastline is especially pronounced due to its semi-isolation and restricted connection with the open ocean, and has lately spurred a tremendous international interest as a possible place where the biblical story of the Great Flood originated. This has encouraged a new round of research on sea level changes and migration of the coastline in the region. Geological evidence of the coastline migration integrated with archaeological records provides insight on development of human cultures and civilisations in the Circumpontic Region, which is often viewed as the Cradle of Civilisation. Integrated geological, prehistoric, historic and instrumental (for the past century) data has already been successfully applied to predict future geoecological situation in a small part of the region, the Sea of Azov. Therefore, we have reason to assume that they can also be applied on a larger scale to predict the future of the Circumpontic Region under global climate change scenarios. At present, geologic and archaeological history of the Circumpontic Region is fragmental and controversial. A multidisciplinary international approach is needed, which would combine the existing pieces of the puzzle, and identify those that wait to be found.

This NATO ARW will promote the integration of the countries' researchers in Earth, Behaviour and Atmospheric Sciences into the international R&D community. The workshop will help clarifying the approach to solving the problems outlined above. Printed proceedings with all oral keynote presentations are intended to be published in the NATO Science Series.

Type of Workshop

The workshop has as co-directors

Yanko-Hombach, Valentina, Prof.
Avalon Institute of Applied Science
Charleswood Technology Centre
3227 Roblin Boulevard
Winnipeg MB R3R 0C2
Telephone +1 (204) 489-4569
Fax + 1 (204) 489-5782
E-mail valyan@avalon-institute.org
Panin, Nicolae, Prof.
National Institute of Marine Geology and Geo-Ecology - GeoEcoMar
Dimitrie Onciul Street No. 23-25
Bucharest RO-70318
Telephone/Fax: +40 (21) 252.25.94
E-mail panin@geoecomar.ro

Key Speakers

Dr. H. Angelova
Prof. A. Kislov
Dr. G. Lericolais
Prof. A. Selivanov
Prof. A. Tchepalyga
Prof. V. Yanko-Hombach
Prof. Y. Yilmaz
Institute of Underwater Archaeology, Bulgaria
Moscow State University, Russia
Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
Avalon Institute of Applied Science, Canada
Kadir Has University, Turkey

Project justification

  1. Many projects on the Late Pleistocene-Holocene palaeoclimatology, palaeoceanography, sedimentology, palaeontology, tectonics, and archaeology of the Circumpontic Region are being carried out or are in progress by a number of institutions worldwide. Within the European Union and Eastern Europe, this has resulted in many unassembled pieces of a puzzle, very few attempts being made to synthesise data and interpretations from this large region. In addition, most of the scientific records obtained by the ex-USSR and former Eastern Block countries are still largely unknown to the NATO counterparts as they were published in national languages and have not yet been internationally discussed owing to the slow pace of east-west scientific dialogue.
  2. To date, there has been no effort to try and synthesise the geological and archaeological evidence of the influence of coastline migration on human development in the Circumpontic Region as a whole area for last 20,000 yrs. The current GE-GLOSS (Global Sea Level Observing System Sea Level Data Archaeology Project), which is a part of the Global Oceanographic Data Archaeology and Rescue (GODAR) Project, is not an exception. The GE-GLOSS aims to establish high quality global and regional sea level networks for application to climate, oceanographic and coastal sea level research based only on the archaeology of the most recent historic (last two-three centuries) but not prehistoric and early historic sea level records.
  3. The ARW discussed:

Because of its relevance to (1), (2) and (3) the ARW is necessary and timely.

It is the hope of the scientific core of the NATO ARW that a joint international project "Climate change and migration of the coastline as factors for human development in the Circumpontic Region: from past to forecast" will be launched by the scientists attending the workshop. This international project will include four NATO countries (Canada, France, Greece, Turkey), one Mediterranean Dialogue (Israel), five partner (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine) countries and Switzerland. The international teams (the "scientific core") have been already established in these countries as a result of personal meetings, emailing, and telephoning with the scientific core members by the project co-ordinator, Prof. V. Yanko-Hombach. In preparation of the future international project outlined above, she presented the main ideas of the international collaboration on the proposed subject on seminars in Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and USA in 2003. The proposed NATO ARW allowed face-to-face discussions and interactions between all members of the scientific core. It lead to an outline of the new interdisciplinary research strategy on a national and multinational level and its formulation.

The NATO ARW was carried out on five days (Wednesday to Sunday), with Wednesday and Sunday being the arrival and departure days, respectively. The workshop was divided into 3 sessions, or 1 session per day (see Programme). Each session was started from 45-minute presentations by keynote speakers and was followed by 30-minutes presentation and discussions, and how it will be incorporated into the research plan. On the last day of the workshop, a roundtable meeting summarised the sessions and splinter groups, and identified the future strategy. A short field trip to the deltaic areas around Bucharest was undertaken afterwards.

The two co-directors of the conference covered almost all languages to be presented at the workshop (the Georgian scientists are fluent in Russian; ARW was well equipped; the host country is moderately inexpensive, and located in the heart of Europe where it can be reached by bus, train and aircraft easily.


A tentative title of the NATO ARW proceedings to be published in the NATO Science Series as an output of the meeting: