Session: #281

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Resource Use and Recycling in Urban Ecologies
In this session we invite papers on resource use and recycling in urban settlements from any geographic region, to encourage a broad discussion of urban ecologies from Antiquity to the Early Modern period.
Towns and cities rely on a complex web of resources, woven into the infrastructure and the practices of urban society. Archaeology is increasingly able to characterise such resource use using high-resolution methodologies to investigate human-centred stories about the urban past. These approaches have also begun to recover evidence for ‘circular economies’ of recycling and reuse in past urban settings, which contribute to contemporary discussions on sustainability and resource depletion.
Archaeological studies of urban ecology rely on combining multiple scales of analysis from domestic production to landscape use, and draw on landscape archaeology, environmental archaeology, and archaeometric studies of craft production among others. This array of methodological avenues also creates a challenge, in that having set out to study environmental resource use, ecological impact, and networked relationships from a wide variety of data sources, it is easy to focus on the results of a single mode of analysis rather than a holistic narrative.
What we offer in this session is the opportunity for researchers from diverse methodological backgrounds to present the results of empirical studies with an emphasis on humanist narratives of resource use and recycling. This might include macro- or micro-scale studies utilising settlement and landscape archaeology, zooarchaeology or archaeobotany, stable isotope or other archaeometric analysis, as well as more traditional archaeological and historic studies, provided the emphasis is on the themes of resource use or circular economies in urban contexts, supported by evidence of practice.
We hope thereby to stimulate discussion on the anthropological narratives of urban dynamics and ways of life which bind archaeological studies of urban ecology, rather than contrasting methodological procedure alone.
Urban Ecology, Landscape, Recycling, Resource Use, Settlement, Craft Production
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Main organiser:
Tom Fitton (United Kingdom) 1
Olympia Bobou (Denmark) 2
Mik Lisowski (United Kingdom) 1
Rubina Raja (Denmark) 2
Stephanie Wynne-Jones (United Kingdom) 1
1. Department of Archaeology, University of York
2. Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Institute for Culture and Society, Aarhus University