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Archaeology, Society and Environment

Archéologie, société et environnement

ASE - ISSN 2752-4507 - © ISTE Ltd

Aims and scope

Objectifs de la revue

The journal Archaeology, Society and Environment (ASE) is open primarily to archaeological research that addresses the relationships between societies and their environment. The themes are varied and concern the economy of societies : exploitation and management of resources, distribution and consumption of production, waste management. The articles may also address the issue of the resilience of societies in the face of environmental change or focus on better defining the anthropization of environments at different scales of time and space.


The results of programmed or preventive operations may concern rural or urban housing sites, developed environments (roads, agricultural plots, territories) or anthropized natural environments (wetlands, forests, etc.). The data analysis will be based on archaeological, archaeozoological, archaeobotanical, geoarchaeological, spatial and other studies. The thematic volumes will also include contributions from other disciplines : history, geography or environmental sciences.


The published results will contribute in an integrative way to better define the long-term relationships between societies and their environments, with no chronological or geographical limits.

La revue Archéologie, société et environnement (ASE) est ouverte prioritairement aux recherches archéologiques qui abordent les relations entre les sociétés avec leur environnement. Les thématiques sont variées et concernent l’économie des sociétés : exploitation et gestion des ressources, distribution et consommation des productions, gestion des déchets. Les articles pourront également traiter la question de la résilience des sociétés face aux changements environnementaux ou s’attacher à mieux définir l’anthropisation des milieux, à différentes échelles de temps et d’espace.


Les résultats issus d’opérations programmées ou préventives peuvent concerner des sites d’habitat rural ou urbain, des milieux aménagés (voies, parcelles, territoires) ou des milieux naturels anthropisés (zones humides, forêts, etc.). L’analyse des données sera issue d’études archéologiques, archéozoologiques, archéobotaniques, géoarchéologiques, spatiale, etc. Les volumes thématiques accueilleront également des contributions d’autres disciplines : histoire, géographie ou sciences de l’environnement.


Les résultats publiés contribueront dans une optique intégrative à mieux définir les relations sur le temps long entre les sociétés et leurs milieux, sans limite chronologique ni géographique.

Journal issues


Volume 19- 1

Issue 1

Recent articles

Editorial. Archaeological carbonates: the memory of water
Julien CURIE, Christophe PETIT

This text introduces the publication of the symposium "Archaeological carbonates, the memory of water" which was held at the MSH "Mondes" in Nanterre, France. This meeting gathered nine papers around the notion of "archaeological carbonates" studied in various contexts (caves, aqueducts, baths) and in a wide geographical area. Identified since Antiquity as reveal some historical texts of ancient authors (Vitruvius, Pliny the Elder, Strabo), carbonate deposits are relatively common in hydraulic structures associated with calcium saturated waters. Following the pioneering study of the carbonates of the ancient aqueduct of Nîmes in the 1990’s, different works combining different paleo-environmental and geoarchaeological approaches have recently completed the panel of studies of these archaeological carbonates. This special publication of the journal Archéologie, Sociétés et Environnement highlights the great interest of studying these carbonate deposits preserved in an archaeological context, true sedimentary archives of human activities and water managements by past human societies.

Concretions in votive contexts of mineral waters: the Roman coins of Cuntis (Pontevedra, Spain)

Archaeological evidence testifies to the importance of the thermal town of Cuntis (Spain) in Roman times, an aspect that also appears to be reflected in literary sources and in its own toponym. The importance of the beneficial and cultual use of these thermal waters in Roman times is evidenced by the presence of collection wells located in the center of the village of Santa María de Cuntis, in the Burga or ‘Fuego de Dios’. It is the main collection system for the hot springs that supply the current spa, but also because it is a site steeped in an important historical tradition. In 1908, during the cleaning of this well, some objects were discovered and distributed among the neighbors, but by chance some of them were deposited in the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Ourense where they were recently identified. Among them, a key, a knife and some coins that have been altered by the action of mineral-medicinal waters from this source. In this work, we present this discovery, as well as we propose a first approach to the archaeometric study of these concretions, with the interest of evaluating how the different types of water affect the conservation and modification of the archaeological objects preserved in these thermal environments.

The carbonate deposits of the Poitiers-Fleury aqueduct (Vouneuil-sous-Biard, 86): an unstable hydro-sedimentary dynamic recording?
Christophe DURLET, Jérôme BRENOT, Éric PHILIPPE, Julien CURIE, Pierre-Alexandre TEBOUL, Théophile COCQUEREZ, Ludovic BRUNEAU

Archaeological investigations conducted on an ancient aqueduct supplying the antique town of Poitiers, western France, in the municipality of Vouneuil-sous-Biard (86), has uncovered a 20 cm thick calcitic crust on walls of a buried channel. Two types of facies alternate in this crust. In the lower crust laminae are mostly comparable to speleothems that would be derived from relatively pure karstic waters. The mid and upper parts of the crust are influenced by microbial communities and probably derived from capture of surface streams rich in organic matter. The δ18O and δ13C values of these two facies, formed in a dark drain with little seasonal temperature variation, are intermediate between those expected for pure speleothems and tufa deposits. Alternance of very thin dark and light laminae exist, especially at the base of the crust. This may represent annual growths, but isotopic and petrographic existing data do not prove this hypothesis which would need further geochemical investigations.

Origins, development and evidence of cleaning of the limestone concretions during the use of the Gallo-Roman aqueduct of Divona-Cahors (Lot)
Didier Rigal, Cees W. Passchier, Gül Sürmelihindi

The archaeological excavations carried out on the aqueduct that supplied the Gallo-Roman city of Cahors (Divona) have discovered sections partially filled with carbonate deposits. These deposits present a laminated facies and variations in thickness along the way of the aqueduct. The recent study of a sequence of deposits 28 cm thick presented here demonstrates the ancient maintenance of the hydraulic structure by identifying anthropic traces of cleaning, sometimes followed by re-capping with hydraulic mortar, in the sedimentary sequences.

Carbonated concretions from the Gallo-Roman aqueducts of Villenoy (Seine-et-Marne, France) and the Suippe at Reims (Marne, France): petrographic study and questioning the origin of the recorded sequences

The recent archaeological study of two Roman aqueducts located in northern Gaul at Villenoy near Meaux (Seine-et-Marne) and Reims (Marne) was accompanied by a macroscopic and microscopic analysis of the carbonate concretions located on the sidewalls of the water channel. The sequencing of these concretions, although not very thick, allows us to retrace parts of the history of the aqueducts. For the aqueduct of Villenoy, the petrographic study confirms the chronological succession of two major phases and two types of operating modes. In the case of the aqueduct of Reims, it forces us to question the very short time recorded in the preserved concretions.

EDITORIAL. Resilience and Landscape: The Use of Resilience Theory in Landscape Archaeology and Archaeogeography
Sandrine Robert

The concept of resilience, initially used in physics, psychology and ecology, has been used in archaeology since the 1990s. Following the Canadian ecologist Crawford Holling, researchers of the European program Archaeomedes, for example, chose to use the term resilience instead of stability. Indeed, they argued that the notion of change in the dynamics of systems is more integral to resilience (Van der Leeuw, 1998 ; Van der Leeuw & Aschan-Leygonie, 2001). Thus, resilience is not only the ability of a system to maintain its structure in the face of disturbance, but it is also “a property that allows a system to absorb and utilize (or even benefit from) change.” (Holling, 1978 : 11). In archaeology, resilience places human-environmental interactions within an evolutionary framework.

Applying the Concept of Panarchy in Archaeogeography: the Example of the Resilience of Routes over the Longue Durée
Sandrine Robert

This paper discusses the application of the resilience conceptual framework, proposed in ecological resilience, to the study of major route systems, described as resilient systems. Major routes in the north of France are studied at the macro-, meso-, and micro-scales. The analysis shows that a large part of the current French network originated in Antiquity. Nevertheless, no one specific road is resilient throught time. Rather, the itineraries are made of several paths and roads that may coexist, substitute one another, or are abandoned but then re-used. Three levels, corresponding to different rhythms of change, interact and account for the routes’ resilience. The itinerary represents the macro-scale: broad and slow level (up until 2,000 years), while at the micro-scale, the structure of paths and roads undergoes numerous and frequent changes (less than 25 years). On the meso-scale, the path and road patterns present non-linear temporalities and appear as a key level for routes’ resilience with possibilities of hiatuses, reuses, etc. The complex dynamic of routes can match the concepts of adaptive cycle and panarchy proposed by C. S. Holling and collaborators.

Stability of Urban Forms and Resilience of a System: The Case of Pre-Modern Parisian Street Network
Léa Hermenault

In this paper, my aim is to show how edifying it can be to adhere to the concept of resilience proffered by C. S. Holling in order to better understand the complexity in which urban environments evolve. To do so, I study here the example of the Parisian street network during the Medieval and Early Modern periods. I show to what extent this network as well as the type of shops along certain streets remained stable over the long term, while also demonstrating that changes were indeed very frequent when one considers the buildings themselves. This apparent paradox can be explained by complex interactions that resilience can help to explore. I show in the third part of this paper that identifying the system of resiliency that produces stability in the Parisian street network leads to an understanding of the socio-economic mechanisms behind the observations made at different levels.

Resilience: The importance of the long term
Sander Van Der Leeuw

The concept of resilience, first introduced in 1973, has become a major conceptual tool in the environmental sciences, and more recently in the study of socio-environmental systems. In archaeology, however, it has not yet found as wide a use. This paper introduces and explains the concept, emphasizes its relationship to the Complex Systems paradigm and presents an example of its application to transformations observed in the field. Its most useful application in archaeology is the study of the long term (centuries or millennia) where the dynamics are slow but persistent. In such cases, it enables a relational and dynamic description of history and the emergence of novelty.

Weather Landscapes and Archaeology: Material Weathering Practices and Tangible Climates
Nik Petek-Sargeant, Paul J. Lane

Climate and climate change can be impenetrable statistical concepts and the sometimes hegemonic scientific narratives around them can make them seem the purview of specialists, while at the same time create an epistemic, geographic and temporal distance between the individual and possible future consequences. However, the climate has already changed and communities throughout the world have most closely experienced it through weather. Weather is the medium through which the statistical reality of climate is felt immediately, is re-socialised, given cultural meanings and functions, and through which long-term environmental knowledge is gathered. Communities build social institutions through which they make long-term weather and climate manageable. Moreover, these experiences are part of identity, local histories and landscapes, key themes that effective climate discussions need to include. Archaeology, with its broad audiences and histories of resilience, has the potential to be an effective tool in climate change messaging. Its focus on local narratives and the material outcomes of human experiences goes beyond the economic discussions surrounding climate change, making it a social issue. In this paper we discuss why weather needs to become more prominent in archaeological narratives and discuss the ways weather can be directly or indirectly included in archaeological analyses and interpretations. Although climate research has been prominent in archaeology, an explicit focus on weather has been almost completely absent. By highlighting weather-centred materialities and practices in the past on the East Africa coast at Kilwa Kisiwani, we show how experiences of weather shape daily life, the built environment and social networks and how it makes the consequences of climate change much more tangible. Archaeologies of weather offer the chance to make archaeology a key partner in projects addressing community values around climate and environment through tangible and relatable components.

Editorial Board

Editors in chief

Christophe PETIT
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


Université de Lyon 3

CNRS – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


Université polytechnique des Hauts de France


CNRS – Université de Franche-Comté

Sandrine ROBERT
EHESS GGh-Terres

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