40th Association for Environmental Archaeology Conference

University of Sheffield

29th November - 1st December 2019

Logo for the 40th conference of the Association of Environmental Archaeology

Registration for the conference is now closed. If you have any queries about the conference, please get in touch at aea2019@sheffield.ac.uk.

Scientific programme

We now have a full programme of selected speakers for the conference and a draft programme (subject to change) for the two-day conference. You can view the programme below or download a printer-friendly PDF version

Saturday 30th November 2019

09:00 - 10:20 Session A

McDonald et al. (University of Glasgow) - People, Pollen and Place in the Bronze Age : New chronologies for upland settlement and environmental change in the 2nd millennium cal BC
Huisman (Cambridge Archaeological Unit) - Wild wetlands and domestic drylands? Human-environment interaction in the prehistoric East Anglian Fens
Walker (MOLA Headland Infrastructure ) - The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme: Preliminary archaeobotanical results from sites within the ‘River Great Ouse’ landscape block
Zamelska-Monczak et al. (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences) - Human-environment interactions in the early medieval Santok, NW Poland

10:50 - 12:30 Session B

Rebolledo (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) - Early fishing along the Atacama Desert Coast
Aono et al. (Tohoku University of Art and Design) - Regional Differences of Environmental Adaptation in the Transition Phase from a Hunting-Gathering Society to an Agrarian Society
Ramsey (University of Cambridge) - Ecological Inheritance and the Non-Linear Transition to Plant-Food Production during the Levantine Epipaleolithic
Jones et al. (University of Cantabria) - Living landscapes of the Past: Understanding Human-animal and environmental interactions during the upper Palaeolithic in Northern Spain
Woodbridge et al. (University of Plymouth) - Human land-use and biodiversity change in the British Isles

13:30 - 15:10 Session C

Walker et al. (University of Cambridge ) - Assessing environmental change at Indus Civilisation Valley sites in northwest India through geoarchaeology
Ruiz-Pérez et al. (CaSEs Research Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra) - Raised-field agriculture in the Bolivian Amazon during the late Holocene: phytolith evidence for their use and management
Pospieszny et al. (University of Bristol) - Isotopic analyses of charred plants through the ages. Cases from northern Poland
Shaw (Maynooth University) - Human-induced changes upland landscapes. A palaeoecological case study in Ribblesdale considering the sustainability of traditional land management
Forster (University of Oxford) - The changing landscape of Anglo-Saxon and later medieval England (FeedSax)

15:40 - 17:00 Session D

Weide et al. (University of Oxford) - The association of arable weeds with modern wild cereal habitats: implications for reconstructing Early Neolithic plant management in the Near East
Zurro et al. (CaSEs Research Group, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, IMF – CSIC) - A cross-cultural ethnoarchaeological approach to risk management in small-scale societies from arid and semiarid environments
Wu et al. (University of Oxford) - Potentials of stable carbon and nitrogen analysis on rice: results from a pot experiment
Delaney et al. (University of York) - Assessing the role of dental calculus as environmental evidence: a case study using Medieval England

17:00 - 18:00 Association for Environmental Archaeology Annual General Meeting

18:30 - 19:30 Public lecture by Mark Knight, Cambridge Archaeological Unit

20:00 - Late Conference dinner, Showroom Cinema

Sunday 1st December 2019

09:00 - 10:40 Session E

Best et al. (Cardiff University) - Feeding king and court: interpreting landscape use and change at Llangorse crannog
Jones et al. (University of Aberdeen) - Abandonment of Pictish Royal Sites: Understanding the wider social and environmental implications through detailed Palaeoecological analysis.
Castilla-Beltrán et al. (University of Southampton) - Land use legacies in Cabo Verde: Microfossil analyses reveal culture-environment interactions in an arid Atlantic archipelago
O'Regan et al. (University of Nottingham) - What’s mined is yours: examining the effects of atmospheric lead pollution on a regional scale
Atkinson & Lewis (Pennine Prospects & University of Bradford) - The charcoal burning platform: a gold mine

11:10 - 12:50 Session F

Seaman et al. (Canterbury Christ Church University ) - Manifestations of Empire: Palaeoenvironmental Analysis and the End of Roman Britain: Preliminary Results and Interpretations
Rizzetto et al. (University of Sheffield) - The economy and environment of Ptolemaic and Roman Al-Qārah al-Ḥamrā, Egypt: archaeobotanical, anthracological, and zooarchaeological results
Lodwick (University of Oxford) - Imperial adaptions to new environments: investigating food supply to early Roman London
Smith (University of Birmingham) - Down with the Homies: The development of the synanthropic insect fauna from the Neolithic to the end of the Roman period in the UK
Speciale et al. (INGV - Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Naples) - The case of Ustica island (Palermo, Sicily): a multidisciplinary approach for the prehistoric paleoenvironmental reconstruction

13:50 - 15:30 Session G

Antolín et al. (IPAS, University of Basel) - The AgriChange Project (2018-2021): tracking and explaining agricultural change in the Neolithic in Western Europe
Garcia-Suarez et al. (University of Oxford) - Sustainability and adaptability in animal management strategies during the Neolithic of Central Anatolia: a micro-geoarchaeological study
Polo-Diaz et al. (University of Sheffield) - Early pastoralism and human-environment interactions in SW Europe: a high-resolution geoarchaeological approach.
Wright (University of Basel) - Exploring the diversity of cattle husbandry in Neolithic Switzerland: Environmental impact or cultural influence?
Gocman (Independent researcher) - Make yourself at home. Repetition of economic and cultural patterns in Late Bronze Age Lesser Poland - zooarchaeological evidence.

15:30 - 16:10 Poster session with refreshments

16:10 - 17: 10 Session H

Green et al. (University of York) - Give a dog a bone
Battermann (University of Leicester) - What does the fox say? Red foxes as a proxy for human engagement with the environment
Hadjikoumis (University of Sheffield) - A Hellenistic dog burial ground in Paphos, Cyprus: preliminary findings

17:10 - 18:00 Discussion session and conference close

Living through change: the archaeology of human-environment interactions

As environmental archaeologists we recognise that human activity can impact local and regional environments, and, conversely, that dynamic environments can stimulate responses in human behaviour. The role of humans as agents of environmental change is increasingly central to debates far beyond our discipline and, given current global politics and the present threats of environmental change, it is more important than it has ever been for environmental archaeology to contribute powerful, vivid and evidence-based accounts of human-environment interactions from the deep and recent past. At the forefront of the study of past human-environment relationships, environmental archaeologists are keenly placed to explore what it means to live through long- and short-term environmental change.

The 40th conference of the Association for Environmental Archaeology will provide an opportunity to reflect on the discipline’s past, and debate its future in the context of growing bodies of data, the integration of multiple proxies for change, new analytical techniques and fresh theoretical paradigms. We welcome papers that explore environmental change from the human perspective through engagement with questions of change, adaptation, sustainability and human impact. We welcome papers from across the breadth of the discipline, including – but not limited to:

  • Human-induced changes to landscapes and environments at all scales
  • Human response to anthropogenic and natural environmental change
  • Sustainability and adaptability in changing environments
  • Environment as a driver of economic and/or socio-political change
  • The past as proxy and model for future human-environment interactions
  • The Anthropocene and other conceptual paradigms
  • The contribution of environmental archaeology to policy-making and public engagement

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View the provisional schedule

Venues & Accommodation

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The Diamond building, Sheffield

Keynote speakers

Gill Campbell

Gill Campbell, Head of Environmental Studies, Historic England and Chair of the Association for Environmental Archaeology

Friday 29th November 2019, evening, Millennium Gallery, conference delegates only

The AEA at 40: Environmental Archaeology enters its prime

GillCampbellThis presentation will be reflect on the history of the association and how environmental archaeology has changed and grown as a discipline over the last forty years. It will consider definitions of environmental archaeology and the role of environmental archaeologists in a volatile world.

The tools which we now have at our disposal to study the interaction of people with their environment over time are becoming ever more sophisticated. We can provide osteological biographies of individuals, both people and animals, and describe in some detail past landscapes, land use and cuisine. Our discipline is no longer only about understanding past economies and environments but also about the central role plants, animal, soils and rocks play in cultures, from belief to a sense of belonging. However, what do we do with the information and data we can provide about the human condition and how can we make our voices heard and ensure the environmental archaeologists stand firmly at the core of debates about the future of our species and the planet that is our home? How can we help form policies and practices that will shape the future from the past?

Mark Knight

Dr Mark Knight, Senior Project Officer, Cambridge Archaeological Unit

Saturday 30th November 2019, evening, The Diamond, public lecture

Mark Knight

The Must Farm pile-dwellings c. 850 BC: interpreting the extraordinarily well-preserved material history of a short-lived prehistoric settlement

The resolution we now have for the environmental sequence in the Flag Fen Basin is truly impressive. There are few landscapes where a comparably detailed picture of changing environmental textures can be set against and equally impressive record of archaeological remains (Fengate, Flag Fen, Bradley Fen and Must Farm). Yet there has been a tendency for ‘fen’ to be treated as an omnipresent and more or less static component of this location. Even though environmental reconstructions illustrate a landscape that went from dry to wet – with fen conditions gradually emerging and peat progressively subsuming the contours of its gravel ‘islands’ – the impression remains that life in the Flag Fen basin was always played out along a fen-edge whose margins were only subtly different to the present day peat cover.

In truth, the Flag Fen Basin was part of an exaggeratedly time-transgressive environment, and therefore, an especially fluid terrain. Here very little remained the same and the physical ‘backdrop’ at the beginning of the Bronze Age was fundamentally different to that at the beginning of the Iron Age. Shifting too was the character of occupation.

Umberto Albarella

Umberto Albarella, Professor of Zooarchaeology, University of Sheffield

Sunday 1st December 2019, end of conference, The Diamond, conference delegates only

Umberto Albarella

Umberto Albarella will take on the discussant role to conclude the proceedings, bringing together the themes of the conference to reflect on the issues that define environmental archaeology on the 40th anniversary of the AEA. 

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Logo for the 40th conference of the Association of Environmental Archaeology

Organising committee

Lenny Salvagno

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Michael Wallace

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Louise Iles

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Catherine Longford

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Michael Bamforth

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Emily Forster

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Caitlin Nagle

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Gianna Ayala

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For enquiries about the conference please contact the Organising Committee: aea2019@sheffield.ac.uk