15-16 April 2010, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford


Welcome to the first Oxford Interdisciplinary Desert Conference bringing together UK researchers interested in dryland people and environments. The goal is to stimulate debate and collaboration across academic departments, share knowledge and expand desert paradigms. With the theme of 'Integrating Research, Expanding Knowledge' we look forward to papers and discussion that bring together the different approaches and perspectives applied to desert research.

This meeting highlights the multiple disciplines that work in desert environments and presents original research combinations through including social and natural scientists working in shared topics or environments in different dimensions and timecales. We look forward to session presentations in fields from Archaeology and Geography through History, Development and Zoology. One section will feature desert perspectives beyond academia to present the NGO / business / government view that makes use of and funds academic study and can have major dryland impacts.

This event provides an excellent opportunity to visit Oxford, enjoy the vibrant surroundings and learn more about desert research. Your participation will contribute to the conference and promote desert research and knowledge throughout the UK. It is hosted at the School of Geography and the Environment and St Cross College at the University of Oxford � we look forward to welcoming you in April.


Thursday 15 April 2010
Welcome10:00-10:15Troy Sternberg
Introductory Address10:15-10:45The significance of deserts in shaping the evolutionary history of Homo sapiens
Michael Petraglia
Listen to podcast MP3: 30.1MB / 32:04 mins (Apologies - missing first few minutes of talk)
Tea break10:45-11:00 
Session 111:00-11:15Interpreting geo-proxies of late Quaternary climate change in African drylands I.
David Thomas
11:15-11:30Interpreting geo-proxies of late Quaternary climate change in African drylands II.
Sallie Burrough
11:30-11:45Groundwater age and renewability in NW China.
Mike Edmunds
11:45-12:00Livelihood sustainability in drylands.
Andy Dougill
Listen to podcast MP3: 13.7MB / 14:38 mins
12:00-12:15Rejecting authenticity in the desert landscapes of the modern Middle East (Oman).
Dawn Chatty
Listen to podcast MP3: 14.5MB / 15:30 mins
Lunch break12:30-13:30 
Session 213:30-13:45Dust in the Sahara.
Richard Washington
13:45-14:00Climate change and cultural transitions over the last 160,000 years in NW Africa.
Angela Vaughan
Listen to podcast MP3: 13.0MB / 13:50 mins
14:00-14:15SW Libya between development and conservation.
Marina Gallinaro
14:15-14:30Human economic impacts on the Saharan interior: the case of the addax.
Tim Wacher
14:30-14:45The Niger inland delta region: land-surface feedbacks and wetland inundation.
Simon Dadson
Tea break15:00-15:30 
Session 315:30�15:45Groundwater and irrigation in Balochistan, Pakistan.
Daanish Mustafa
Listen to podcast MP3: 13.9MB / 14:47 mins
15:45-16:00Inferences on retrospective climate of Thar desert through luminescence dating of aeolian and lacustrine sequences.
Ashok Singhvi
Listen to podcast MP3: 17.8MB / 19:01 mins
16:00-16:15Living off uncertainty (pastoralism).
Saverio Kratli
16:15-16:30The role of NGOs in the Drylands Development Paradigm.
Mike Mortimore
Listen to podcast MP3: 18.6MB / 19:55 mins
Keynote address17:00�17:45From Dick to the Desert: a short (and incomplete) history of Oxford geography's contributions to desert science.
David Thomas
Listen to podcast MP3: 32.4MB / 34:34 mins
Dinner19:15-lateSt Cross College, St Giles, Oxford
Friday 16 April 2010
Session 109:30-09:45Hominid dispersals and the Middle Palaeolithic of Arabia.
Huw Groucutt
Listen to podcast MP3: 17.2MB / 18:18 mins
09:45-10:00The role of the desert in forming the ancient Egyptian civilisation.
Mohamed Abouelata
Listen to podcast MP3: 15.3MB / 16:15 mins
10:00-10:15Water infrastructure and innovative techniques in arid climates. (Presented by Lisa Mol).
Aziza Chaouni
10:15-10:30Landscape learning as a measure of social interaction in a semi-arid environment.
Linda Hulin
10:30-10:45"The cake will be shared by all" in the urban desert: the Black Panthers of Israel, 1971-1975.
Anne-Marie Angelo
Session 211:30-11:45Environmental change in oasis systems.
Caroline King
11:45-12:00Wet rocks, big trouble? Using novel techniques to assess rock art deterioration.
Lisa Mol
Listen to podcast MP3: 13.2MB / 14:04 mins
12:00-12:15A new estimate about the evaporation in the deserts of northwestern China.
Xiaoping Yang
Listen to podcast MP3: 19.4MB / 20:41 mins
12:15-12:30Gateway of India: the implications of palaeoenvironmental change in the Thar desert, NW India, for the dispersal of Homo Sapiens.
James Blinkhorn
Listen to podcast MP3: 15.8MB / 16:51 mins
12:30-12:45Water landscapes in central Sahara.
Savino di Lernia
Listen to podcast MP3: 15.6MB / 16:41 mins
Lunch break13:00-14:00 
Session 314:00-14:15Aeolian research.
Marcelo Zarate
Listen to podcast MP3: 15.8MB / 16:48 mins
14:15-14:30Modelling the emission and transport of Saharan dust.
Jamie Banks
Listen to podcast MP3: 12.0MB / 12:44 mins
14:30-14:45Casting new light on Late Quaternary environmental and palaeohydrological change in the Namib desert: a review of the application of optically stimulated luminescence.
Abi Stone
Listen to podcast MP3: 11.8MB / 12:30 mins
14:45-15:00Minimum carbon payment along an aridity gradient for dryland forestation.
Henri Rueff
Listen to podcast MP3: 15.3MB / 16:19 mins
15:00-15:15Soil moisture and feedback cycles; southern Africa as a carbon sink.
Andrew Thomas
Listen to podcast MP3: 16.7MB / 17:49 mins
Closing15:15-15:30Troy Sternberg

Read more about the conference on Dr Abi Stone's blog: Day one of deserts...

Contact Information

The School of Geography and the Environment is located in the University Science Area, South Parks Road, Oxford. For directions, please see the School's contact information.

For further queries please contact the Conference Team:

Dr Troy Sternberg or Lisa Mol
Oxford Interdisciplinary Desert Conference
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1865 285070