Archaeology and Palaeoecology
ARCHAEOLOGY AND PALAEOECOLOGY RESEARCH
Archaeology studies the development of humanity by examining surviving material remains (e.g. tombs, temples, settlements, skeletons, artefacts and the landscape context from which they were recovered). Through the information gained it is possible to trace our economic, cultural, social and spiritual developments through time. At Queen’s, Palaeoecology complements Archaeology by studying the nature and timing of environmental changes in the past, including climate change. This brings a highly integrated approach to assessing how human activities have been shaped by and, in turn, have impacted upon the natural environment and a means to disentangle human impact from natural variability.
Although, by their very nature, Archaeology and Palaeoecology are concerned with the past, both disciplines have a role in the present, as well as the future. The threats to our environment and landscape through urban, industrial and agricultural development have never been greater. Globally, archaeological and environmental heritage is at threat from conflict and climate change. Archaeologists and palaeoecologists are at the forefront of the preservation and management of cultural evidence from the past – monuments, artefacts and landscapes, while increasingly work in this field also incorporates attention to ecological conservation. The past is also relevant to how people construct identities in the present and many of the careers available for archaeologists and palaeoecologists stem from the need to evaluate and manage the different dimensions of this heritage.
While Archaeology & Palaeoecology has a long tradition of researching Irish archaeology, our staff are also involved in projects across the globe, in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Our work stretches from the time of early hominins, hundreds of thousands of years ago, right up to the twenty-first century. Staff have a diverse range of research interests, including prehistoric stone technology and metalworking; medieval buildings; human and animal bones; tree-ring dating; pollen analysis; tephrochronology; childhood in the past; trading networks and migration, heritage management, and computational approaches to Archaeology and Palaeoecology including survey, mapping and remote sensing. Our graduates are equipped with a diverse subject-specific and generic skill-set that will enable them to successfully pursue careers in Archaeology & Palaeoecology in addition to many other fields, such as teaching, forensics or environmental work.
KEY RESEARCH PROJECTS
An ERC-funded Advanced FP7 project that studies fragility and sustainability in island environments. The FRAGSUS project explores the life of the Neolithic Temple population, who settled in Malta between 5500BC and 2400BC, and focuses on how the prehistoric people responded to and exploited the limited resources of a remote island environment.
The Transport Infrastructure Ireland project involves a bioarchaeological study of 600 human skeletons recovered during the excavation of a Medieval settlement cemetery at Ranelagh, Co. Roscommon. In addition to osteoarchaeological analysis, the project involves the use of cutting-edge chronological, statistical, isotope and ancient DNA approaches, all of which will advance understanding of this population and the people of Medieval Ireland more broadly.
SUNDASIA is exploring how prehistoric tropical communities adapted to cycles of coastal inundation in northern Vietnam, and how these data can help inform models and responses to modern climate-induced rising seas in Southeast Asia. This multi-disciplinary research is funded by the GCRF (AHRC) and Xuan Truong Enterprise. A follow-on project (PALAEOKARST) is examining and modelling the effects of long-term human impact on tropical limestone karst forest.Read more Read less
Research Expertise of Archaeology and Palaeocology Staff:
- Later Prehistory
- Artefact Studies
- Medieval Archaeology
- Remote Sensing
- Historic Archaeology
- Archaeological Theory
- Neolithic Archaeology
- Physical Anthropology
- Copper Age to Iron Age in Eurasia
- Archaeology of Cult and Religion
- Early Medieval Settlements
- Landscape Archaeology
- Human Osteoarchaeology
- Radiocarbon Dating
- Stable Isotope Analysis
Archaeology & Palaeoecology houses a number of major research Centres, while its staff also collaborate and utilise cutting-edge facilities across the University. These include: