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Prospects and pitfalls in integrating volcanology and archaeology: A review

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  • Felix Riede
  • Gina Barnes, Durham University
  • ,
  • Mark D. Elson, University of Arizona
  • ,
  • Gerald A. Oetelaar, University of Calgary
  • ,
  • Karen G. Holmberg, New York University
  • ,
  • Payson Sheets, University of Colorado
Volcanic eruptions and interactions with the landforms and products these yield, are a constant feature of human life in many parts of the world. Seen over long timespans, human–volcano interactions become stratified in sedimentary archives containing eruptive products and archaeological remains. This review is concerned with charting the overlapping territory of volcanology and archaeology and attempts to plot productive routes for further conjoined research. We define archaeological volcanology as a field of study that brings together incentives, insights, and methods from both volcanology and from archaeology in an effort to better understand both past volcanism as well as past cultural change, and to improve risk management practices as well as the contemporary engagement with volcanism and its products. There is an increasing appreciation that understanding these human impacts and manifold human-volcano interactions requires robust multi-, inter- or even trans-disciplinary collaboration. Our review is written in the hope of providing a clearinghouse resource that (i) maps the many forms of past human-volcano interactions, (ii) provides study design templates for how to integrate archaeological perspectives into investigations of past volcanism, and (iii) makes suggestions for how the insights gained from such an archaeological volcanology can be integrated into reducing contemporary and future vulnerability amongst at-risk communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106977
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Geoarcheology, Geocultural heritage, Human impacts, Interdisciplinarity, Social volcanology, Stratigraphy

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