Environmental Archaeology: Building from Successes

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

Environmental archaeology has evolved considerably since the 1980’s, to a point where some countries have promulgated laws obligating such analyses to be performed in all archaeological investigations. Methods are now well established for most environmental disciplines, and the extent of possibilities has multiplied. However, too many archaeologists, even within the academic community, are reluctant to see the full potential of such analyses for understanding human behaviour.Environmental archaeology is a well known and a highly accepted method that relates to a better understanding of palaeoecology and palaeoeconomy; two fundamental aspects of past human lives. This session aims to present varied case studies across the Americas and abroad, whether through the study of faunal, botanical or insect remains, to emphasize the importance of biological studies in archaeology.Researchers studying environmental archaeology are invited to share the results of their investigations into past human ecology and economy.

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  • Documents (8)

  • Alien invasions: modernization and the dispersal of insect pests in Iceland (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Véronique Forbes.

    The development of the modern western world was characterized by technological advances in farming and shipping, the globalization of trade and the ongoing densification of urban spaces such as villages, towns and cities. These phenomena, which caused dramatic changes in people’s lifeways, also affected insect populations around the world by enabling the global dispersal of pest species, some of which successfully established permanent populations in new territories. Recent investigations of...

  • Changing foodways as a reflection of identity in a 19th-century Upper Canada household: the Ashbridge Estate in Toronto (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eric Tourigny.

    Owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust, the Ashbridge Estate represents the property of one of Toronto’s first founding families. It was granted to and developed by Jonathan Ashbridge in 1796, along a military road linking Fort York (Toronto) to Fort Cataraqui (Kingston). The Ashbridge family continued to inhabit the property for the following 200 years. Archaeological excavations held in the late 1990s and early 2000s permit us to investigate early rural life and investigate changes...

  • Du Luth and Hennepin among the Dakota: The Archaeology of Initial French Exploration West of Lake Superior (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cynthia Zutter.

    In the late seventeenth century, the area that is now the State of Minnesota was the frontier of exploration for New France. At the western edge of Lake Superior, Minnesota offered passage into the then-unknown extent of the Mississippi River watershed, and establishment of trade with the Dakota (Sioux) Indians. Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Luth traveled across the Great Lakes and overland to the Dakota communities at Mille Lacs Lake in 1679. Father Louis Hennepin resided at Mille Lacs among the...

  • Environmental Archaeology and the Columbian Exchange in the Caribbean (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Diane Wallman.

    The colonization and settlement of the Americas by Europeans instigated significant demographic, economic and ecological transition in the New World. The Caribbean, in particular, experienced a radical transformation of both the natural and social landscape, involving the introduction of diverse peoples, new biota, and an emerging capitalist economic system. While prehistoric archaeological research in the Caribbean has provided considerable insight into the ecological history of the region,...

  • Historical archaeology as venue for the integration stable isotope and zooarchaeological analyses: A case study for Australian animal husbandry and meat trade (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eric Guiry. Bernice Harpley.

    Stable isotope-based paleodietary reconstructions are scarcely conducted on faunal remains from historical sites in the New World. We argue that stable isotope applications have significant potential for answering a wide variety of questions about human-animal relations in historical settings. By way of example, we present a case study detailing the first use of stable isotope analyses for the purpose of reconstructing animal husbandry and meat trade during the early development of colonial...

  • Impact on food provisioning in Barbuda, Lesser Antilles, during the American Independence War (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anne-Marie Faucher.

    The island of Barbuda, located in the Lesser Antilles, was mostly governed by the British Codrington family who lived both on and off the island between the 17th and 19th centuries. Historical documents confirm that Barbuda’s English settlers had a primarily European diet imported from Britain and American colonies. Other than cotton, few European and local plant species are documented to have been successfully cultivated on Barbuda. Analyses of seeds, phytoliths and starch grains from a...

  • Life on the Farm: The Environmental Archaeology of Harriet Tubman’s Home (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jessica Bowes.

    Harriet Tubman was an African American slave, activist, and American heroine. In 1859 she purchased a farm in Auburn, NY and over the fifty-six years of her residence she opened her home to family and to the public. The farm is just a small part of Tubman’’s legacy but it allows us to connect with her and those who also lived on the property. Years of archaeological excavation on Harriet Tubman’’s farm have yielded a wealth of data, however only recent excavations have utilized environmental...

  • Native American Environmental Interactions During Warfare: A Case Study of 17th Century New England (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kimberly Kasper. Kevin McBride.

    This investigation focuses on the historical dynamics of Native American environmental interactions during one of the most tumultuous times within Native American history. Select 17th century Native American sites from the interior and coastal areas of New England will be analyzed and compared to gain a more nuanced understanding of the cultural landscape. Through an analysis of the food and medicinal resources specifically tied to plants, we draw attention to the continuities and...