Open Science Practices in Environmental Archaeology – new date and call for papers now open
The rescheduled AEA Spring Conference 2021 will be taking online on Saturday 24th April 2021.
All aspects of Environmental Archaeology have a shared reliance on the creation, curation and analysis of quantitative datasets – from counts of molluscs and pollen, to isotope ratios and morphometrics. Too often, this data is hidden behind paywalls, difficult to reuse or simply not made available. This conference will discuss the current state of data in Environmental Archaeology and how open science practices can improve the reliability and reproducibility of research. Issues to be discussed include the standardisation of data recording, data sharing, data repositories, linked open data, the creation and longevity of databases and reproducible analysis (Rstats). Papers are also welcomed on any aspects of open research, including open methods, open data, open access publishing and open education across Environmental Archaeology (as broadly conceived).
Most of our speakers from 2020’s planned event will be presenting, but we have some spaces for a few more talks. We are particularly keen to receive contributions on the subjects of open education and the ethical aspects of open science. Please send a title and abstract of up to 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11th December 2020.
Registration will open in January 2021.
We look forward to seeing you all digitally!
Lisa Lodwick, Tom Maltas, Tina Roushannafas and Rubi Wu
University of Oxford
As you are aware, we had to postpone the 41st Association for Environmental Archaeology meeting to be held in Groningen, the Netherlands, to 2021. We have, however, been able to come up with a great alternative. Based on the four themes planned for the conference, we will organize four webinars, to be held in September and October 2020. Each session will have a keynote speaker (30 minutes) addressing various aspects of sustainability and environmental archaeology. This presentation will be followed by two presentations (15 minutes each) by early career researchers (ECRs), preferably PhD students in the final stages of their research.
To attend the AEA webinars registration is required. Registration is free for both AEA members and non-AEA members. Through the registration we will forward you a link a couple days ahead of each webinar that allows you to join the session.
The link for the registration is: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScWHef9_kQEao_xVLLVVL2O5BzRPPZPHjdR44--oUEcE9tA5g/viewform
The full program is available to download below, along with biographies of the keynote speakers.
The goal of this conference is to address sustainability in the field of environmental archaeology. Sustainability is a key issue in societal, political and scientific debate. The pressing need to create a more sustainable future is reflected in the United Nations (UN)’ ‘urgent call to action’ detailed in 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/). This raises the question of how the issue of ‘sustainability’ is or should be incorporated into archaeological research, practice and discourse.
The 17 goals and the concept of ‘sustainability’ will be central to the 2020 AEA webinars. They are addressed and explored through four themes: ‘Sustainability of the Profession’, 'Sustainability in the Past’, ‘Sustainability and the Environment’ and ‘Social Sustainability’. Through these themes the webinars will revolve around the concept ‘sustainable environmental archaeology’, exploring it from different perspectives and topics.
The 41st AEA Organization Team (Nathalie Brusgaard, Canan Çakirlar, Merit Hondelink, Youri van den Hurk, Arnoud Maurer, Mans Schepers, Taravat Talebi Seyyedsaran, and Francesca Slim)
Session 1: Sustainability of the Profession
Environmental archaeology as a discipline is in constant motion. New methods, practices, and research ideas are constantly being developed and excavations revealing new information regarding the past. It may be argued, however, that the discipline of archaeology itself is struggling with several sustainability issues. New methods often require destructive sampling, exhausting available resources. Furthermore, the sustainability of archaeology as a profession is affected by aspects such as the number of students taking a degree course in archaeology, limited financial sources, and fast-paced advancements made in scientific methods. This justifies the need for archaeology to continuously develop new methods, carry out outreach activities, engage in new partnerships with various fields, and improve heritage management. This all contributes to the potential impact of environmental archaeology on our understanding of a sustainable environment.
Session 2: Sustainability in the Past
Sustainability is not only a topic of concern for societies today. In the past, communities were also challenged by issues such as climate fluctuations, environmental and landscape change, and the cultivation and maintenance of healthy, sustainable human, animal, and plant populations. The archaeological record can inform us on how people dealt with these issues and what it reflects about the interactions between humans and their living and non-living environment. This may be visible and studied at different scales, from local hunter-gatherer communities that practiced selective hunting and foraging strategies to long duréé changes in the landscape due to human intervention and their socio-economic practices. Reflecting on sustainability in the past can contribute to both a broader understanding of the past and new perspectives on the future.
Session 3: Sustainability and the Environment
Throughout history, humans have been exploiting a wide variety of environmental resources and have been niche-constructing both the biotic and the abiotic environments. This impact on our surroundings has in some instances led to environmental degradation, climate change, and the introduction, endangerment, alternation, extirpation, or even extinction of animal and plant species. Environmental archaeology offers the possibility to assess the status of environmental factors in the past, and can provide modern sustainability studies and approaches with a baseline or data that can benefit attempts to protect our environment.
Session 4: Social Sustainability
Social archaeology examines the social dimensions of human life in the past through the interpretation of archaeological remains, informing us about expressions of ethnicity, race, age, status, class, and gender. It provides insights into the social sustainability of past societies. Through, for example, the investigation of the unequal distribution of power, wealth, and resources, social archaeology can reveal patterns regarding social practices and how communities and societies were shaped and developed through time. Interpretations of the past are also influenced by social issues in the present. Increasingly, archaeological studies advocate for more agency for groups traditionally under-represented in research. Here environmental archaeology also plays an important role in lending more agency to non-human species, for example in social zooarchaeological and multi-special approaches.