Theme 10: Science and Archaeology

Robin Torrence (Australian Museum)

Scientific concepts and methods are essential to modern archaeology, but the rapidly increasing number and sophistication of techniques challenge scholars to make the best use of potential opportunities. To address this problem, contributions will showcase the broadest possible range of recent innovations in archaeological science through the presentation of cutting edge case studies sourced from across the world. Subject areas could include, but are not restricted to, general topics such as dating, diet reconstruction, innovation, craft specialization, trade and exchange, domestication, mobility, demography, etc. or approaches like DNA, provenance identification, isotopes, tool residues, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, palaeobotany, materials science, etc. Sessions will also critically examine the utility and relevance of scientific approaches and techniques for answering questions posed by contemporary archaeological theory. What are the current limitations of scientific archaeology? How can current challenges be overcome through new methods, collaborations or synergies? Can research efforts and funding be better directed to tackle significant questions about the past? In addition, what are the exciting developments on the horizon? The aim of the sessions and discussion forums is to showcase top quality research in all areas of archaeological science as well as to consider current and potential problems and challenges for the field, particularly in terms of research agendas, sustainability of data, democratizing access to data and facilities, and the maintenance of standards and rigour.

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