© 2012

Environmental Archaeology


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xliv
  2. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 1-39
  3. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 41-68
  4. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 69-102
  5. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 103-123
  6. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 125-159
  7. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 161-189
  8. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 191-230
  9. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 231-261
  10. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 263-300
  11. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 301-344
  12. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 345-381
  13. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 383-422
  14. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 423-467
  15. Elizabeth J. Reitz, Myra Shackley
    Pages 469-482
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 483-516

About this book


One of the most significant developments in archaeology in recent years is the emergence of its environmental branch: the study of humans’ interactions with their natural surroundings over long periods and of organic remains instead of the ceramic, lithic and architectural elements generally associated with sites. With the current attention paid to human responsibility for environmental change, this innovative field is recognized by scientists, conservation and heritage managers, and policymakers worldwide.

In this context comes Environmental Archaeology by Elizabeth Reitz and Myra Shackley, updating the seminal 1981 text Environmental Archaeology by Myra Shackley.  Rigorously detailed yet concise and accessible, this volume surveys the complex and technical field of environmental archaeology for researchers interested in the causes, consequences, and potential future impact of environmental change from the perspective of archaeology. Its coverage acknowledges the multiple disciplines involved in the field, expanding the possibilities for using environmental data from archaeological sites in enriching related disciplines and improving communication among them. Introductory chapters explain the processes involved in the formation of sites, introduce research designs and field methods and walk the reader through biological classifications before focusing on the various levels of biotic and abiotic materials found at sites, including:

  • Sediments and soils.
  • Viruses, bacteria, archaea, protists and fungi.
  • Bryophytes and vascular plants.
  • Wood, charcoal, stems, leaves and roots.
  • Spores, pollen and other microbotanical remains.
  • Arthropods, molluscs, echinoderms and vertebrates. 
  • Stable isotopes, elements and biomolecules.

The updated Environmental Archaeology is a major addition to the resource library of archaeologists, environmentalists, historians, researchers, policymakers—anyone involved in studying, managing, or preserving archaeological sites.


Archaeological Methods Classification DNA in archaeological sites Field Methods Nomenclature archaeological excavation process cultural site formation processes extraction and processing sites organic deposits at archaeological sites radiocarbon dating sediments and soils in archaeology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Georgia Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Nottingham Business SchoolNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dr. Elizabeth Reitz is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Georgia. She is also a member of the Executive Committee, International Council on Archaeozoology and the International Committee, International Council on Archaeozoology. She is currently the Director of the University of Georgia's Center for Archaeological Sciences.

Dr. Myra Shackley is affiliated with the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University. She is a former head of the Centre for Tourism and Visitor Management at Nottingham Business School.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Environmental Archaeology
  • Authors Elizabeth Reitz
    Myra Shackley
  • Series Title Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4614-3337-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4614-9644-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4614-3339-2
  • Series ISSN 1571-5752
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XLIV, 516
  • Number of Illustrations 144 b/w illustrations, 7 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Archaeology
    Environment, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


From the reviews:

“This handbook by Reitz (anthropology, Univ. of Georgia) and Shackley (Culture Resource Management, Nottingham Business School, UK) is a revised and dramatically enlarged update of Shackley’s 1981 Environmental Archaeology … . Each chapter concludes with a section on applications followed by a complete, up-to-date bibliography. … this handbook will be of most value to serious students and professionals. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.” (W. Kotter, Choice, Vol. 50 (4), December, 2012)