Bookmark and Share

Environmental Archaeology    

Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology aims to publish contributions on all aspects of environmental archaeology, from methodology to synthesis and theory.

Environmental Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical which welcomes contributions that consider the interaction between humans and their environment in the archaeological and historical past.

Tim Mighall will be sole editor of Environmental Archaeology from 2014.

>> View the journal homepage for instructions for authors and more. 

>> Read the latest issue  

 “Environmental Archaeologies of Neolithisation”

Forthcoming special issues of Environmental Archaeology

Guest editors: Dr Robin Bendrey (University of Reading), Dr Amy Richardson (University of Reading), Sarah Elliott (University of Reading) and Jade Whitlam (University of Reading).

These special issues are the publication of the Association for Environmental Archaeology, Autumn Conference 2012, held at the University of Reading, UK.

The origins and spread of Neolithic life-ways represent a pivotal change in human ecology and society. Communities transformed their relationships with the world around them, shifting away from reliance upon hunted and collected wild resources, to the management and domestication of plants and animals, alongside a pattern of increasing sedentism.

>> Read more about the issues

The environmental context of past societies

Seventeen years of archaeobotany in Environmental Archaeology

Since its launch in 1996 Environmental Archaeology has become an important medium through which contemporary archaeobotanical research is published. Indeed, the very first volume was dedicated to a topic firmly linked to archaeobotany: 'The Archaeology of Fodder'. With a recent edition (February 2013) focusing on the ‘Bioarchaeological research on animal dung’ it could be argued that the journal has come full circle. Thus, it is a good time to digest the contribution the journal has made over the past seventeen years.

In the introduction to the first volume it is remarked that “growing interest in this topic is now being shown from an impressively broad range of specialisms within environmental archaeology” (Charles et al. 1996). This firm multidisciplinary commitment, which is evident in the range of specialisms represented in that first volume, would reoccur up to the present time.

>> Read the full essay

A new geological period? Defining the Anthropocene and Environmental Archaeology 

by Tony Brown and Andy J Howard

There is growing discussion and concern within the palaeoenvironmental community regarding the designation of a new geological period, which recognises the profound impact that modern humans have had since the end of the last glaciation and continue to have on natural ecosystems.

However, defining the basal geological boundary of this new age, termed informally in the literature as the ‘Anthropocene’ is not as easy as it might appear, as has recently been discussed in relation to geomorphology by Brown et al. (2013a). The point of this short article is to bring this debate to the attention of environmental archaeologists and highlight questions which they might want to consider. With an understanding of natural processes, vegetation histories and human impact, environmental archaeologists are in a unique position to contribute to this debate through publication of empirical evidence in Environmental Archaeology. Should the Anthropocene be designated a geological Epoch and the boundary set at an arbitrary year?

>> Read the full essay

‘Include material of a controversial nature where important issues are involved’

A history of Environmental Archaeology and a review of its archive by Andy J Howard, Richard Madgwick and Tim Mighall 

Prior to the launch of the journal in its current format in 1996, members of the AEA and the wider environmental archaeological community published articles of varying length, news, book reviews and other information in its predecessor Circaea.

In total, 12 volumes of this bulletin were published between 1983 and 1996, with up to 3 issues per year.

>> Read the full essay

Getting to know the Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA)

Andy Howard, Chair of the Executive Committee for the Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA), introduces the society by giving an overview of its history and the benefits of becoming a member.

>> Become a member of the AEA

An introduction to Environmental Archaeology

Tim Mighall, Deputy Editor of Environmental Archaeology, introduces the journal and explains its aim and scope.

>> Submit a paper to the journal  

Fairy circles and peat bogs: reconstructing ecosystems of the past

Palaeoecology in Environmental Archaeology by Tim Mighall

Presenting palaeoecological evidence of past human activities from across the globe has been a regular feature of many papers published in Environmental Archaeology.

Evidence for human-environment interactions, utilising both on-site records (e.g. from settlements) and off-site records (such as peat bogs, lake sediments and dryland soils) has been published throughout the journal’s history.

>> Read the full essay

"No longer do archaeologists have to rely solely on seeds, bones and shells"

Isotope analysis is the future of environmental archaeology by Richard Madgwick

Isotope analysis represents one of the most exciting innovations in environmental archaeology in the last 30 years and is now a crucial tool for palaeoclimatologists, human osteologists, zooarchaeologists, malacologists and archaeobotanists. Initially pioneered by Michael DeNiro in the 1970s, the discipline is now one of the fastest developing in environmental archaeology, with techniques being constantly refined and new, innovative applications being developed.

In brief, isotope analysis involves the measurement of the ratio of certain isotopes of particular chemical elements.

>> Read the full essay

Geoarchaeology: the underlying framework for environmental studies

by Matt Canti

Geoarchaeology commonly provides the underlying framework for environmental studies, reflecting the way that soils and sediments contain the artefacts and ecofacts from which we deduce past environments. In these types of study, the headline ecological interpretation is usually derived from pollen, snails or insects and the study of the sediments must necessarily take a background position.

If we look at Thornbush and Desloges (2011), for example, high quality core descriptions and closely spaced sediment samples, each with particle size, organic matter and calcium carbonate determinations provided both the basis for, and some assistance with, interpretations from palynological and malacological studies.

>> Read the full essay

Zooarchaeology and the journal Environmental Archaeology

by Hannah Russ

Zooarchaeology is the study of the remains of non-human animals recovered from archaeological sites. This includes the remains of vertebrates; mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, but also invertebrates, including molluscs, insects and crustaceans. Much zooarchaeological research focuses on establishing and understanding past human diet, but the knowledge gained from the study of animal remains also contributes significantly to the reconstruction of past climatic, environmental and living conditions, biogeography and ETC. Zooarchaeological analysis involves much more than the identification of remains.

>> Read the full essay

View free content online!

From 1 September to 15 October 2013 we are offering free access to all content in Environmental Archaeology from the last 3 years.

To access this content simply fill out this quick form, click OK
and follow the link to view all content marked with or :


First name:




Where did you find out about this page? (If you received an email, please include who it was from):

By submitting your details, you are opting in to join our archaeology mailing list.

Discounted subscriptions!

Throughout September only we are offering 20% off individual and institutional subscriptions.


2013 Institutions:
WAS: £
248.00 / US$458.00
NOW: £198.00 / US$366.00

2014 Institutions:
WAS: £263
.00 / US$485.00
NOW: £210.00 / US$388.00

2013 Institutions:
WAS: £224.00 / US414.00
NOW: £179.00 / US$331.00

2014 Institutions:
WAS: £
237.00 / US$431.00
NOW: £190.00 / US$345.00

Subscribe to both years and receive a 50% discount!

Institutions can subscribe to both volumes 18 (2013) and 19 (2014)
at a 50% discount until 15th October. Email us for more information.

Individuals  receive the journal
as part of an annual membership of the Association for Environmental Archaeology.


Environmental Archaeology increased to 3 issues per year in 2013 and as a result the editor is interested in receiving articles on all aspects of environmental archaeology as well as the following subjects:

•    New developments within
     theory and practice of
     environmental archaeology
•    Biomolecular archaeology
•    Human osteology and

•    Human interaction with
     climatic and environmental
     changes in the past

Please see our online instructions for more information about submitting a paper.

Please direct any questions to the journal editor Tim Mighall.

>> Submit your paper online

>> Download the CFP

The best of Environmental Archaeology

A selection of popular,
high-quality articles

To celebrate Environmental Archaeology being Journal of the Month in September, in addition to the 3 years' worth of free content, the following 10 articles are available free to download until 15th October 2013!

The impact of human activities on the natural environment of the Canary Islands (Spain) during the pre-Hispanic stage (3rd-2nd Century BC to 15th Century AD): an overview

Stress as an Aspect of Environmental Studies

Tephrochronology, Environmental Change and the Norse Settlement of Iceland

Evidence for long-term averaging of strontium in bovine enamel using TIMS and LA-MC-ICP-MS strontium isotope intra-molar profiles

The Role of Fodder in the Farming System: a Case Study From Northern Jordan

Draught cattle and the South Scandinavian economies of the 4th millennium BC

Fishing in the Northern Isles: a Case Study Based on Fish Bone Assemblages from Two
Multi-period Sites on Sanday, Orkney

An Exploration of the Effects of Crop Rotation Regime on Modem Weed Floras

Animal Hair in Medieval Ship Caulking Throws Light on Livestock Types

The Organisation of a Zoo-archaeological Reference Collection of Bird Bones

Trial this journal online

Trials are available for both individuals interested in the journals and librarians wishing to trial journals for their whole institution. Visit our free trial page and choose the 'Archaeology & Heritage' option. 

>> Free trials page

Recommend this journal to your library

If you feel that a subscription to this journal would benefit your institution, please complete our library recommendation form.

You can also recommend complete MORE collections and
e-journal mini-bundles.

>> Recommend a journal

Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA)

The Association for Environmental Archaeology  promotes the advancement of the study of human interaction with the environment in the past through archaeology and related disciplines.

It holds annual conferences and other meetings, produces a quarterly newsletter for members, and publishes conference monographs, as well as the journal - Environmental Archaeology.

AEA membership is open to all those actively involved or interested in any aspect of environmental archaeology.

>> Become a member of the AEA

>> Visit the AEA website

Keep in touch

NEW BLOG: 'Can you dig it?'

You can also keep in touch with us through a range of social media outlets:







'Can you dig it?' is a blog that provides news and information on a variety of topics to the archaeology and heritage community.

The content of its posts will vary from news items, conference announcements with ‘snap shots’ of particular sessions, additional information on published content from our journals (whether it be a popular article, editorial or special issue), interviews with a specialist at a major conference or a profile of a society.

>> Read the latest post to the blog

>> Submit an idea for a post