Session: #861

Theme & Session Format

7. Archaeology of Sustainability through World Crises, Climate Change and War
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Insects for Archaeology, Archaeology for Insects: Environmental Storytellings for the Past, Present, and Future
Insects are by far the most diverse organisms on Earth, with many ecological adaptations and interactions. Their ubiquity and fundamental roles in the functional ecology of most terrestrial ecosystems across the planet are reflected in totemic representations, tropes, and knowledge systems of human societies today and throughout history. In the archaeological record, insect remains may serve as environmental indicators and agents of bioturbation, while also offering valuable insights into health and sanitation, past climate change, biogeography, funerary and agricultural practices, rituals, and folklore.
Archaeoentomology, funerary entomology, and other archaeological and anthropological approaches to past human-insect interactions consider insects both as silent witnesses to past activities and as active contributors informing ongoing environmental and social changes. These two views are not contradictory. Instead, they highlight the importance of revealing the intricate relationships between insects, human societies, and the broader environment in longue durée. Such understandings may inspire management and adaptation strategies in an era already facing diverse eco-entomological challenges, such as pollinator deficit, biodiversity decline, pathogen control, and global food security.
Echoing the insights from the forthcoming special issue of Archaeological Review from Cambridge (39.1) titled “Human-Insect Entanglement: Past, Present and Future” co-edited by some of the organisers, this session invites interdisciplinary contributions related to the themes of temporal and environmental (sensu latu) change, funerary archaeoentomology, cultural entomology, and beyond. These contributions aim to unravel the rich environmental stories woven together with these often underestimated agents in our shared history.
This session is the result of collaborative efforts from three separate proposals exploring various aspects of the field. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following colleagues: Rachel Brody (Boston College), Nynke Blömer (University of Cambridge), Jake Stone (University of Cambridge), Jeremy Farr (CSIRO;University of Queensland), Jean-Bernard Huchet (CNRS), Nick Schafstall (Czech University of Life Sciences), and Nicki Whitehouse (University of Glasgow).
Environmental Archaeology, Funerary Archaeoentomology, Insects, Arthropods, Archaeology and/of Climate Change
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Main organiser:
Eva Kourela (Ireland) 1
Benny Shen (United Kingdom) 2
Stefano Vanin (Italy) 3
Stephen Davis (Ireland) 1
1. University College Dublin
2. Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
3. University of Genoa IAS-CNR