Pinned Down in the Trenches? Revisiting environmental archaeology

Terry O'Connor

Department of Archaeology, University of York. Email:

Cite this as: O'Connor, T. 2019 Pinned Down in the Trenches? Revisiting environmental archaeology, Internet Archaeology 53.


A discipline called environmental archaeology emerged in the 1970s, established itself as an important part of archaeological post-excavation practice, and promptly developed an identity crisis. At regular intervals since, the discipline has tried to decide what defines it and what its overall theoretical paradigm should or could be. This article considers some of the challenges that have inhibited the development of a consensus theoretical framework, not least the working practices of commercial field archaeology. The role of niche-construction models in archaeology is discussed, and the article considers the place of new analytical methodologies and interaction with the public as opportunities to develop new theoretical perspectives.

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