Welcome to Environmental Archaeology
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
The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals, edited by EA curator Kitty Emery and Christopher Götz of UADY Merida, presents new zooarchaeological research from central Mexico to northern South America in 20 chapters by 42 authors and from six countries. Chapter authors include EA Emeritus Curator Elizabeth Wing and students Erin Thornton (now faculty at Washington State University) and Nicole Cannarozzi. The combined works remind us of the value of animal remains in documenting the details of ancient life. Information about the volume from the publisher's page can be found here.
With Antonia Foias of Williams College, Emery has also integrated the results of over a decade of collaborative archaeological and environmental research into the volume Motul de San José: Politics, History and Economy in a Classic Maya Polity. This work reveals a surprisingly complex integration between capital and regional satellites that included inter-polity exchange of rare commodities and commonplace domestic goods at levels from gifting between individuals to possible marketplace exchange. For more information about the site of the Motul, check out the EA research section webpage on the site and Foias's webpage here. Information from the publisher's page can be found here.
EA collection manager Irv Quitmyer has co-edited Seasonality and Mobility along the Georgia Bight with EA Affiliate Elizabeth Reitz of UGA and David Hurst Thomas of AMNH which provides interdisciplinary insight into seasonal patterns of the Georgia coastline to understand human patterning in this dynamic estuarine environment. Read the volume online here:
Recent EA Student Awards & Grants
Graduate student Arianne Boileau has received the Social Science and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship from the Government of Canada for her zooarchaeological research on community roles before and after Spanish contact at the Maya site of Lamanai, Belize.
Graduate student Ashley Sharpe has received a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for her research investigating the rise of Maya state formation through zooarchaeological and isotopic analysis.
Read More About Our Research!
Residue Analysis at the FLMNH: Combining archaeological and chemical analysis, graduate student Lisa Duffy has been testing various food processing and serving artifacts to determine what ancient residues might still be found on the surface. These residues provide clues about the role of ground stone and ceramic vessels in Maya cuisine. Read about her ongoing research in the new sections Ancient Maya Cuisine and Residue Analysis and Maya Ground Stone Analysis.