Polluting the environment in antiquity: an inter-disciplinary meeting

Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow
September 7-8, 2010

Most processes in antiquity created pollution of one kind or another; the processes arose from industries dealing for example with metal extraction to workshops where tanning was undertaken, dye production took place or where the processing of agricultural products occurred. The scale of pollution must have ranged greatly, from the large scale (for which issues of public health must have arisen) to the spillage in a small workshop or domestic context.  Under the right circumstances, the evidence for this pollution comes directly from excavation, but it is the case that identification from the archaeological record alone of the process that has given rise to the pollution/waste is often fraught with difficulty or ambiguity. 

This meeting builds upon the progress made in recent years in applying techniques of chemical and other analyses to soils from archaeological sites with a view to identifying the potential function of space, often domestic.  Its purpose is to create a dialogue between geo-scientists involved in detecting chemical or other signatures of processes that have given rise to ancient pollution in the soil (or, conversely, enrichment of the soil through, for example, manuring) and archaeologists who have excavated sites or found locations where there is evidence of a craft or agricultural processing activity.  

Please see the final schedule of the meeting.

The meeting will be held in the Boyd-Orr Building which is D1 on the Campus map.  It is next to the Gregory Building where Archaeology is situated.

The meeting arises out of the current Leverhulme-funded International Network project in the Department of Archaeology at Glasgow which is examining new-generation techniques of non-destructive analysis applied to archaeological materials and soils. 

If you would like to attend the meeting, please contact the organisers, Richard Jones and Brendan Derham. There is no charge for attending.