Investigating Environments

Lab 5

Introduction to Archaeology


An important factor in understanding societies, past and present, is to understand the environment in which a society develops and how that society adapts to its environment. We are interested in the environmental conditions, how it sets some guidelines for community development, the resources it offers and the resources actually utilized. We are interested in how a particular society actually utilizes the resources available (in other words what technology it has available to exploit the potential of any region).

Identifying the Region Today: In this case we examine the region to be investigated, determining the varied environmental zones available and the various resources (animals, plant life, minerals, water etc.) available. This can be accomplished by using a detailed map, as well as geographic, geological and ethnographic studies. Of course, present-day conditions may differ considerably from those in the past. Click here for interactive map.

Examine the map below. What key resources are available in this valley presently?


Identifying the Region in the Past: Determining changing past environments is accomplished by examining the geological information as well as plant and faunal evidence from the past. Geologists may be employed to examine past geological conditions.

Botanical Information: Botanical information gives un important insights into past environmental conditions and cultural choices.


Faunal Information: Animal remains can tell us about the environment and about the exploitation of animals, domestic and wild.


Determining Which Resources were Utilized:

Looking at Sites:



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