Co-organiser of session: ‘Humming with crossfire - short on cover…’? Revisiting and reflecting on ‘Environmental Archaeology: Meaning and Purpose'.

B.R. Gearey, Suzi Richer, Seren Griffiths, M Farrell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


It is now nearly a decade and a half since the publication of Environmental Archaeology: Meaning and Purpose (edited by Albarella 2001), itself based on a TAG session held at the University of Birmingham in 1998. One of the core concerns of the session was the perception that: “….there is still a profound fracture existing between archaeologists dealing with the artefactural [sic] evidence and those engaged in the study of biological and geological remains” (Albarella 2001, introduction). This session aims to re-visit some of the debates and questions that were raised in the publication and will consider if and how environmental archaeology has progressed in a theoretical context over the last 15 years. Bringing together a diversity of theoretical, scientific, and field considerations will allow a reexamination of the following questions:
 What is the current relationship between ‘cultural’ and ‘environmental’ archaeologies?
Has the ‘gap’ identified in 2001 been closed to any extent? If not, does it matter?
 Environmental archaeology: rich on data, short on theory and epistemology?
 Is it time to abandon the term ‘environmental archaeology’ other than as short-hand for a collection of techniques? Does this expression hinder rather than help?
 Environmental archaeology in the post-PPG16 world. Has integration spread
throughout the industry? Are certain specialisms privileged over others? Are we sampling for the sake of it?

New areas of debate which were not considered in the original publication but merit reflection in the present day are also encouraged and might include:
 Environmental archaeology and public archaeology — never the twain shall meet?
 The ‘scientific turn’ in archaeology — biomolecules, isotopes and DNA — a brave new
world or recipe for further disciplinary fragmentation?
 Environmental archaeology in the context of new theoretical developments: ‘resilience’ and other concepts — lighting the way or casting more shadows?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 15 Dec 2015
EventTheoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) - Bradford, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Dec 201516 Dec 2015


ConferenceTheoretical Archaeology Group (TAG)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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