Teaching Archaeology from a Sustainability Perspective

Author(s): Dawn Mooney Digrius

Year: 2015


In the twenty-first century, archaeology should be applied and should include scientists and engineers. Why? The reason is simple: because the discipline contributes to our understanding of contemporary issues such as global warming and environmental degradation as well as the past. As a paleoethnobotanist (and now historian of paleobotany), I saw a need for more collaborative work. Thus, in my classroom, I utilized a multi-disciplinary perspective, one that drew from anthropology, water resources engineering, and plant science. Once my students were trained in the necessary theoretical and methodological practices, they went into the field (Ecuador) to conduct their own fieldwork under the auspices of sustainable development. Students conducted interviews with the local community, undertook survey work, took water and soil samples, and drew maps of the study region. Upon their return, they created a design plan that took into account the prehistoric and historic use of the land in order to develop a more sustainable development program. In this fashion, archaeology was seen as contributing to global sustainable development projects in a more relevant way, for it allowed the students to tackle real-world problems in a deep and meaningful way.

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Cite this Record

Teaching Archaeology from a Sustainability Perspective. Dawn Mooney Digrius. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396615)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;