Welcome to Environmental Archaeology

Environmental Archaeology logo

Environmental archaeology is the interdisciplinary study of past human interactions with the natural world - a world that encompasses plants, animals, and landscapes. We seek to reconstruct ancient environments associated with archaeological sites and the use of plants, animals, and landscapes by the people who once inhabited these sites. We are interested in the impact people had on the world around them, and the way ancient peoples perceived and were affected by their surroundings and the plants and animals on which they relied.

News and Announcements

Welcome to the New Environmental Archaeology Website!

Take a moment to explore our new Environmental Archaeology website! This new site provides current information on our program, collections, research, and people. Navigate through our pages to see what we do and who we are. Find information on our extensive collections and how to access them. And check out our research projects to see what we've done and what exciting investigations are currently underway. Expect new updates as we continue to expand our site in the very near future!

The Search for the Origin of the Domestic Turkey

Meleagris gallopavo - Photo from Wikipedia Commons, released to public domain by author riki7, 2009

The NSF has funded a collaborative research effort to study ancient Maya turkey husbandry and trade. This grant follows the identification of non-local northern turkey remains at the archaeological site of El Mirador, Guatemala, which predate other such finds in the area by over 1000 years (Thornton and Emery et al. PLoS ONE, Aug. 8, 2012). The research will refine our understanding ancient Maya subsistence systems, long-distance trade connections, and the process involved in domesticating Mesoamerica's only indigenous domesticated animal, the turkey. Collaborators are from institutions in England, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. (Learn More)

Documenting Significant Archaeological Human-Environmental Relationships in Southeast Florida

Shell - Florida Museum Photo

The Environmental Archaeology Program has recently entered into a collaborative research project with the National Park Service Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC) to use the environmental archaeological resources of the NPS Southeast Region to develop a better understanding of past lifeways, human diets, landscape and seascape transformation, and how past populations interacted with natural resources. (Learn More)