The Environmental Archaeology stream explores the role of environmental archaeology in the understanding of past human societies.
Recovery of evidence of biological remains and their soil matrix is nowadays typically a key part of archaeological investigation, both on- and off-site. Critical evaluation of the possibilities and limitations of the evidence recovered is important for the subject to play its full role in the analysis and interpretation of human activity in relationship to the environment.
The history of the discipline is considered as a basis of its development into a core aspect of present-day archaeology. Focus is given to both the methods used to study the interplay between past economies and environments and the theoretical framework that interpretation requires.
- Preservation & recovery of bio-archaeological material
- Identification & quantification of bio-archaeological material
- Bio-molecular approaches
- Ecology of past societies
- Theoretical issues in environmental archaeology including niche construction and environmental determinism
- Climate change and human activity
- Food production and consumption
- Land use and environmental impacts
The stream combines lectures, tutorials and laboratory based practicals to introduce students to a broad range of bio-archaeological approaches [including: archaeobotany [macro- & micro-], palynology, and archaeozoology]. These general principals are then directly applied through detailed study of plant macro and micro-remains.
The School hosts dedicated laboratories for the recovery, processing, identification, digital recording and isotopic analysis of plant-based materials [charred seed, pollen, phytoliths, starch etc]. There are extensive reference collections of seeds, herbarium and micro-fossil specimens from Europe and Western Asia.
You will take one module from List A, and one or two from List B. You will also take the Archaeological Principles module, and complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a stream-related topic.
If you take only one stream module from List B below, you may take another module offered from either: List B in any other stream*; the MSt in Classical Archaeology*; or a subject from the MSc in Archaeological Science* (please note that if you select the Bioarchaeology module you will not be able to choose another module from the Archaeological Sciences Programme).
*Not all offered every year