Impacts of climate change and human occupation on the landscapes in western Eurasia are complex in terms of both their spatial distribution and temporal resolution. Reconstructing impacts is not straightforward, however; often, semi-arid conditions prevail, which reduce the extent of suitable archives for reconstructing past change. Other sites are very remote, so that few studies exist from which to make these reconstructions. In order to tackle some of these issues, we convened a session at the EGU (Vienna) April 2005 to compile recent research on Holocene environments in western Eurasia. In all, 22 presentations were given, with special emphasis on paleoenvironmental reconstructions from regions with rich archaeological histories. Several papers presented significant methodological advances with regard to reconstructing the past from lake sediments, while others brought the growing field of Russian archaeological pedology to the attention of other scientists. Studies from remote sites were also highlighted, because they served as useful comparisons from which to reconstruct past climatic impacts with minimal human disturbance in the western Eurasian region.