2015 AEA conference fund

We are delighted to announce the availability of the AEA Conference Fund to members of the AEA (of at least six months standing) to assist attendance at the York conference (6-8 November 2015). Priority will be given to those with limited alternative sources of funding (particularly postgraduate students and those in the private sector) and those presenting papers or posters. Applications from students must be accompanied by a letter of support from their supervisor. An application form is provided at the end of this Newsletter.

Successful applicants will be required to provide a statement of expenditure and activities undertaken within 3 months after the event has taken place in order to receive reimbursement. Moreover, successful applicants will be requested to provide a report on the conference for the AEA Newsletter or website.

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2015. Any queries should be directed to the AEA Conference Officer: Robin Bendrey (r.bendrey@reading.ac.uk)

Conference fund 2015 application form docx

Conference fund 2015 application form pdf

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John Evans prize 2015

John Evans (1941-2005) was an inspirational environmental archaeologist, responsible for advancing the discipline and fostering many of today’s top researchers in the field.  To honour the memory of John and his achievements within environmental archaeology, the Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA) has an annual competition for the best undergraduate and Masters dissertations in any aspect of environmental archaeology.

The deadline for submissions is the 31st July.


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Reminder Annual Conference, 2015 call for papers

The 36th Annual Association for Environmental Archaeology Conference, 2015 will take place in York, UK. This special conference will be a celebration of the career and research of Terry O’Connor. Terry who retired earlier in 2015, has been an influential figure in the field of zooarchaeology and environmental archaeology for more than 30 years, not least as a founding member of the Association of Environmental Archaeology (AEA) and co-editor of its first journal, Circaea.

From Anthrosphere to Lithosphere (and back again): A Celebration of the Career and Research of Terry O’Connor

Friday 6 November, 5.00pm to Sunday 8 November 4.30pm

Abstract deadline 30th April 2015

Conference website

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AEA session at TRAC 2015

The AEA are supporting a session taking place on the Sunday of the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference this year (Sunday 29th March), on “Integrating Environmental and Theoretical Roman Archaeology”.

TRAC 2015 is taking place at the University of Leicester, and further details can be found here (http://trac.org.uk/2014/11/registration-now-open-25th-theoretical-roman-archaeology-conference/).

In order to allow delegates from the nearby AEA Spring Conference (University of Nottingham, Saturday 28th March) to also attend, the conference organisers have kindly offered a discounted Sunday only rate for AEA members.

The Sunday only price is £18, including conference packs and tea & coffee breaks.

If you would like to register for this offer, please contact l.a.lodwick@reading.ac.uk. Deadline is Friday 27th February.

Posted in Conference

Archaeological Reference Resources Project

The AEA has been invited to collaborate with the Archaeological Reference Resources Project. The aim of the project is to enable English Heritage and the wider archaeological community to gain a better understanding of what Reference Resources are being used in the archaeology sector,  current issues with Reference Resources, and the nature of any major gaps in coverage. Below is further information on the project.


The Archaeological Reference Resources Project will collect information about the Reference Resources used by researchers in the study of artefacts and ecofacts. The project will compile a database, and identify gaps in current provision. The project will engage widely with specialist organisations and individual researchers. The following outline explains the aims of the project, and how the project team propose to engage and collaborate with specialist groups and individual researchers. The project has been commissioned by English Heritage and is being carried out by Rachel Edwards (Arboretum Archaeological Consultancy) and Hal Dalwood (Hal Dalwood Archaeology and Heritage).

The project will create a database of synthetic archaeological Reference Resources used in the study of artefacts and ecofacts, including physical reference collections, published catalogues and corpora, and online catalogues. The findings of the project will be documented in a report to English Heritage and disseminated to the profession. This project is an outcome of the broader English Heritage Strategy for Developing Research Resources led by Dan Miles of English Heritage: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/research/strategies/research-resources/.

The project started in October 2014. We will be collecting data and information up to April 2015, and compiling the report during May 2015.

The Project Design can be downloaded from the project website (www.archaeologicalreferenceresources.uk).


The aims of the project are to:

1. Identify what reference resources are currently available/being used by the archaeology sector.

2. Create a point-in time database of these reference resources and record basic information on their composition, coverage, date, availability, access, etc.

3. Identify and collate information about any barriers to the use of these reference resources. For example if they are out of print.

4. Identify and collate information on threats to existing reference resources e.g. curation and maintenance of reference collections.

5. Assess the costs and benefits of developing and maintaining an online database of these resources as a tool for use by the sector.

6. Highlight major gaps and weaknesses in coverage and currency of reference resources.

Outputs of the project

A project database will be compiled from an extensive literature search. The draft database will be enhanced and expanded through collaboration with specialist groups. The database will include information on the currency of, and any problems with access to, individual Reference Resources, as well as current issues with their future maintenance. The completed database will be a point of reference for English Heritage. Preliminary consultations indicate that members of ALGAO (England) would find such a database useful in assessing project designs and grey literature reports, and that academic archaeologists would find it a useful resource for teaching students. The specialist sector will be canvassed for opinions about making the database both online and easily updateable.

A project report will provide an overview of the use of Reference Resources by the specialist sector and highlight the gaps and weakness in current provision. The identification of gaps will be undertaken in collaboration with specialist groups. The broader issues of curation and maintenance of Reference Resources will also be considered. The project report will also examine the role of Reference Resources in archaeological resource management, including to what extent the use of Reference Resources is a requirement in project briefs. The project report will consider the potential for such requirements to raise standards in fieldwork and post-excavation. This part of the project will be conducted in liaison with ALGAO England. The project report will assess the cost and benefits of maintaining the project database as an online resource.

The success of this project will depend upon good communications with specialist societies and organisations, as well as individual researchers. In the project design stage we contacted committee members of a number of specialist organisations, who agreed that their society would co-ordinate consultation and liaison. The project team  will be attending the AEA Conference in Plymouth and look forward to meeting colleagues there.

Information on the project and updates on progress will available on the project website and blog (www.archaeologicalreferenceresources.uk). You can contact the project team directly via the website or at info@archaeologicalreferenceresources.uk.

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AEA student blog – Interview with Julia Best

AEA student blog. Interview with Julia Best:
As part of this blog’s mission to provide young researchers with a glimpse into current research and career development in the field of Environmental Archaeology, we would like to introduce you to Julia Best. Julia has recently started her post-doc at Bournemouth University after having completed her PhD at Cardiff University. Her main expertise is bird bone analysis, and in the interview below she talks about her experience in the field of Environmental Archaeology so far and offers some great tips on career development.
– What got you interested in Environmental Archaeology?

It all started with a rabbit. Aged about 5 I was taken to Fishbourne Roman Palace. Said rabbit had been burrowing about and unearthed various bits of pottery and some bone fragments. I proudly handed these to the museum people and then promptly cried all the way home because I didn’t want to leave. I think I was doomed from thereon in! Many years later at Cardiff University doing my undergraduate degree I began to realise the staggering array of evidence that can be explored through environmental archaeology and once I started the osteoarchaeology module I was hooked. Zooarchaeology is my specialist area, particularly birds, but I also have a fondness for flotation and have conducted environmental sampling and processing for a variety of archaeological sites. There is something very satisfying about a load of charred grains bobbing out and into your sieve. Not to mention that good sampling and environmental processing are important for recovering some of my smaller bird bones!
– How long have you been a member of AEA? How did you hear about us?

I first joined the AEA at the end of my undergraduate degree in 2008/9. I confess that during my PhD I carelessly let my membership lapse, but I have since re-joined again! I heard of the AEA through their advertisement at various conferences, by using the AEA publications in the library, but most importantly through my supervisor at the time (Dr Jacqui Mulville) and other mentors who encouraged me to join.
– What is your current research about? How about previous research?

I am currently a Post-Doctoral researcher on the ‘Scientific and Cultural Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions’ project which is funded by the AHRC. I am based at Bournemouth University with the project’s leader, Mark Maltby. My zooarchaeological research focuses on investigating the domestication and subsequent spread of chickens across the world, and how they were used for meat and eggs in different periods and regions. As such, part of my work involves collecting data from across Europe for inclusion in a large project database. I am also conducting research into the history of egg production, and working to refine and develop our knowledge of the formation, duration and extent of medullary bone in chickens. The chicken is today our most numerous domestic animal and yet our knowledge of it is surprisingly limited. As such, our project is vital for understanding its origins, and its significance in diet, society and culture.
Prior to this I completed my PhD at Cardiff University (viva December 2013). My thesis explored the use of avian resources within the Scottish and wider North Atlantic Island environment via archaeological bone and eggshell. Birds can provide a range of products including meat, eggs and feathers, however their archaeological investigation in this context had been limited. By collating pre-existing avian data and combining it with new, in-depth analyses the thesis was able to investigate bird use though time and space more fully, exploring a wide range of evidence through their remains.
– How does studying bird remains contribute to our understanding of ancient human lives?

Birds are wonderful things for archaeology since they have the ability to provide evidence for a wide range of topics related to the human past. For example, analysing bird bones and eggshells can develop our understanding of human diet, their exploitation of wild bird resources, seasonal fowling activities, what habitats were present that these birds were sourced from, and human movement around the landscape to acquire them. Through the study of wild birds we can also investigate climate change and human persecution (such as in the case of the infamous great auk’s extinction). Domestic birds present opportunities to investigate animal husbandry, the domestication process, and the spread of these animal resources across the world (and via this we can study human movement and trade). Both wild and domestic birds also have the potential to help explore how these animals were perceived and interacted with, and as such their role in society, economy and culture.
– How difficult was it to find career opportunities within Environmental Archaeology?

I have been very fortunate in that a job position for which I was well suited and could write a strong application was advertised just after I submitted my PhD. As such, I had the opportunity to move swiftly from PhD to Post-Doc. My experience is by no means unique. Two close friends who finished their PhDs around the same time as myself are both now employed in environmental archaeology related areas; one in environmental processing in the field and archive, the other as a Post-Doc on a stable isotope focused project. Other friends (for example) completed Masters degrees and then went on to take major roles and responsibilities in environmental processing with a variety of archaeological units. As an area of archaeology I feel that we possess a strong and varied armoury of transferable skills that we can adapt to suit a wide variety of career opportunities.
– What would your advice be for students looking to develop their career in Environmental Archaeology?

Make the most of the range of opportunities available to you. Attend conferences (and seminars, workshops, courses etc.). Even if you are not speaking they are brilliant for networking and making contacts. People I met at my very first conference are now valued colleagues and it’s a great to meet people at different universities working in similar areas. It is a good way to get your name heard which can be very useful when it comes to applying for jobs or MAs, PhDs etc. They are also great fun and there are usually opportunities for financial aid available from various avenues.

Try to get practical and expand your skill set, explore areas of environmental archaeology that are less familiar to you, whether it’s helping with flotation on an excavation or learning to identify bird bones! Having a broad understanding of the breadth of our discipline will help you develop and expand your work in your own specialist areas, but can also provide vital opportunities for collaborative research.

Look at things from different angles. I very much enjoy public engagement and outreach work and this can be a very rewarding experience. I get the wonderful opportunity to look into the past every day, but I believe that our experiences are limited if we do not share this with the wider world. I recently took the Chicken Project’s work to Glastonbury Festival (in the Green Futures Field’s Science Tent). The level of interest was staggering and the visitors often ask questions and spark areas of discussion that had never occurred to us! Everyone has a past and as such the past belongs to everyone.

Thank you Julia! And with these inspiring words this blog interview ends. If you have any comments or questions about this interview or suggestions for future blogs don’t be shy, let us know!

Posted in Student blog

Environmental Archaeology of European Cities call for papers

We are pleased to announce that the Association is one of the supporters of the up coming conference on the Environmental Archaeology of European Cities. Which will be held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, May 27-29th, 2015.

The conference is now accepting abstracts for oral and poster presentations. The deadline for submissions is 18th November 2014.

Conference on the Environmental Archaeology of European Cities 2nd Circular


Posted in Conference

Grants to attend AEA Autumn conference

There are also a limited number of grants for members to attend the AEA conference in Plymouth, 7th-9th November. (Preference given to those with little or no access to other sources of funding. Please apply as soon as possible. 

Application form

Posted in AEA conference

Welcome to the AEA student blog

Welcome to the AEA student blog!

The Association for Environmental Archaeology encourages interaction between researchers in the field, and this includes young researchers who are interested in learning more about opportunities for development and networking.

This blog will give you a heads up for upcoming conferences, events, prizes and career opportunities. In addition, interviews with young environmental archaeologists active at various research institutions will be posted and provide a glimpse into current projects, and available research programs and facilities in the UK and abroad.

We hope to create an interactive environment where ideas and information can be shared and encourage student members of the AEA to get involved by sending contributions and suggestions. Keep an eye out for our first post, which will feature an interview with the lovely avifauna researcher Julia Best.


Who are we?

The AEA student blog is run by two student representatives, Daniella Vos and Jade Whitlam. The AEA committee recruits a new student representative each year for a two year tenure. As part of AEA’s effort to promote environmental archaeology, the student representatives’ role is to liaise between the AEA and students interested in environmental archaeology at conferences and through the social media.

Posted in Student blog

The AEA needs you

Would you like to help contribute to the activities of the AEA through standing for election on to the Managing committee?

This year we are seeking nominations for 3 Ordinary members, 1 student representative and the position of Secretary.

The elections will be held at the Association’s AGM, which will take place at the autumn conference, 7th-9th November 2014.

Nominations can be submitted up to the time of the conference. But to be included in the newsletter they need to be submitted by 22nd August 2014.

For any queries and nominations, please contact the secretary Fay Worley Fay.worley@english-heritage.org.uk

Further information

The AEA Managing Committee usually meets four times a year (around April, July, October and January). There is funding available to assist with travel to meetings and we utilise virtual conferencing facilities to allow members to participate where travel is prohibitively expensive or not possible. The main items of business discussed include the organisation of conferences and events, the publication of the Journal, responses to new policy documents and frameworks that impact upon environmental archaeology and its practitioners, as well as issues relating to the Newsletter, website, social media, membership, finances and new initiatives (such as our forthcoming research fund). Serving on the Committee allows AEA members to help determine the future direction and priorities of the Association, and promote environmental archaeology within and beyond archaeology.

The role of Secretary (1 position, 4 year term)

The Secretary facilitates communication between the Managing Committee and AEA members and between members of the Managing Committee. On a practical level, this includes assisting in the organisation and administration of committee meetings and AGMs, drawing up agendas and minutes, and Newsletter or website notices. The Secretary works in close cooperation with the Chair and is also available to assist other Managing Committee members.

The role of Ordinary members (3 positions, 4 year term)

The committee includes 12 elected Ordinary Members, whose role is to contribute to committee activities and the management of the Association, through active participation in committee meetings and additional tasks as required. Ordinary committee members may take on additional specific responsibilities, such as Conference Officer, Publicity Officer, Web Officer, etc, for some, or all of their term of office.

The role of the student representative (1 position, 2 year term)

The committee includes two Student Representatives, with one new Student Representative elected each year, and their term of office lasting two years. The post is open to both undergraduates and postgraduate students. During their first year of office, the newly elected Student Representative will ‘shadow’ the student completing their second year of office. During their second year of office, the student representative will take a more active role in the Committee, as well as guiding the newly elected student representative. The Student Representative will be expected to promote the AEA within the undergraduate and postgraduate communities, and also encourage the establishment of student-led meetings/seminars.

Submitting a nomination

All nominees must be AEA members in good standing. Any AEA member can make a nomination, but this must be seconded by another AEA member. Nominations should be accompanied by a brief personal statement from the nominee (that implicitly indicates their willingness to stand), which will be published in the Newsletter and/or circulated at the AGM. Nominations and personal statements can be e-mailed or posted to the AEA Secretary, Fay Worley, who should also be contacted with any queries. Fay.worley@english-heritage.org.uk

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