Session: #427

Theme & Session Format

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

Title & Content

Island Sustainability and Resilience in Europe: Archaeological, Palaeoecological and Historical Approaches
Islands present archaeologists and historians with an unrivalled opportunity to study the sustainability and resilience of complex socioecological systems. This is facilitated by their semi-permeable boundaries and their often high degrees of self-sufficiency in basic subsistence terms. In many cases their relationship to a motherland or mainland is also critical, and sometimes recorded, and it can be argued that in some cases, especially on inland lakes, islands can be ‘central places’ (Bäck 1997). But do they inherently lack socioecological resilience (Petzold 2017) or is this contextual and fluid, and if so what are the critical factors. This is highly relevant to the problem of sustaining small island communities faced by many European countries today. Archaeological, palaeoecological and historical evidence can all be brought to bear on this problem. This session will examine these question with particular attention to small-medium sized European islands and archipelagos using evidence ranging from archaeological excavation though palaeo-environmental studies to the use of documentary sources. A range of methodologies is highly appropriate due to the mixed marine-land economies and variable dependency on importation both in time and space. Papers exploring the potential of new techniques will are encouraged including traditional proxies, biomarkers, aDNA, remote sensing, geoarchaeology, and novel dating methods. As well as particular opportunities island also present a range of challenges from a lack of suitable sites to a lack of administrative identity. The identification of critical factors in the trajectories of population and well-being on islands is highly relevant to present policies which grapple with how relatively small populations can be maintained in the face of both ecological and equity considerations. This session will present a variety of studies from different areas of Europe addressing these themes and highlighting the importance of island archaeologies.
islands, environment, sustainability, trade, marine resources, resilence
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Main organiser:
Antony Brown (United Kingdom) 1
Jane Downes (United Kingdom) 2
Stephen Wickler (Norway) 1
Helene Martinsson-Wallin (Sweden) 3
1. Tromsø Museum, Arctic University of Norway
2. University of the Highlands and Islands, ARCHAEOLOGY INSTITUTE
3. Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Campus Gotland