What’s On

Collapse and everything after: what can we learn from the fall of ancient civilisations?

Collapse and everything after:  what can we learn from the fall of ancient civilisations?

Date & Time

June 21, 2022 - 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

In person talk with Associate Professor Dan Penny

Associate Professor Dan Penny of the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney joins us in person to talk about his multidisciplinary research into ancient civilisations and what we can learn from them in relation to our own current issues with climate change…

The abandoned ruins of once great civilisations capture our imaginations. Invariably, these places are understood in pejorative terms – as loss, failure, collapse and abandonment. In recent years these historic instances of ‘collapse’ have often been associated with past climatic instability.

However, new multidisciplinary research is also revealing them to be sites of persistence, resilience and adaptation to change. As such, past societies provide valuable lessons for the modern world, particularly as we move into a century of profound climatic disruption.

This talk will reveal how ongoing scientific research in Southeast Asia and Central America is changing our understanding of ‘collapse’, and providing clues as to how we might best confront our own climatic future.

Event Details

This event will be held in person at SMSA’s Henry Carmichael Theatre at Level 1, 280 Pitt Street Sydney.

Free event – registration to attend this event is essential due to limited capacity.

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About Dan Penny

Dan Penny is an Associate Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. Dan’s research is focussed on the response of environments and human communities to climatic variability over long periods of time. The aim of this research is to reveal the complex mechanistic interaction between humanity and the rest of the earth system. He has worked throughout the tropical regions of the earth for nearly 30 years, focussing particularly on the fate of historic cities of the Khmer in mainland Southeast Asia and the Maya in Central America.


Associate Professor Dan Penny joins us to explore what we can learn from the fall of ancient civilisations.

Free event – all welcome. 


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Past Event

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What’s On at SMSA

Date & Time

June 21, 2022 - 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm


Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, Pitt Street, Sydney NSW, Australia

Henry Carmichael Theatre

280 Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000

Level 1


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