The integration of high-resolution archaeological, textual, and environmental data with longer-term, low-resolution data affords greater precision in identifying some of the causal relationships underlying societal change. Regional and microregional case studies about the Byzantine world—in particular, Anatolia, which for several centuries was the heart of that world—reveal many of the difficulties that researchers face when attempting to assess the influence of environmental factors on human society. The Anatolian case challenges a number of assumptions about the impact of climatic factors on socio-political organization and medium-term historical evolution, highlighting the importance of further collaboration between historians, archaeologists, and climate scientists.

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