Environmental archaeology encompasses a wide range of scientific methods for analyzing the results of past human activities, environments, climates and perhaps most importantly, the relationships between these. Many of these methods are referred to as proxy analyses, denoting the illumination of the past as interpreted through the evidence of fossil organisms or properties. These lines of evidence, or proxy data sources, are assumed to reflect past conditions by way of their dependence on them. For example, crops will only grow within a specific climate range; organic waste will lead to increased soil phosphate levels and burning increases magnetic susceptibility. Whilst it is easier to store, manage and analyze the data produced by these methods individually, there is much to be gained from multi-proxy integration at the raw data level. Despite this methodological diversity, the common factors of space, time and context allow us to compare and integrate the results of analyses. This is, however, easier said than done, and without efficient data handling systems the data rapidly become unmanageable. SEAD represents one solution to this problem, and forms a node in an international web of open access paleoenvironmental and archaeological databases which are driving archaeological science into new realms of more complex, multi-site, multi-proxy analyses and meta-analyses. This article sets out to describe the system, the scientific implications of which are covered in Buckland et al. 2010.
HUMANIORA -- Historia och arkeologi -- Arkeologi (hsv//swe)
HUMANITIES -- History and Archaeology -- Archaeology (hsv//eng)