Environmental Archaeology in Ireland (EAI) was established in 2016 to provide a collaborative forum where practitioners could discuss and share results, build professional relationships, establish strategies for development of the profession and raise awareness of environmental archaeology more widely.
Environmental archaeologists work across Ireland in third-level and public institutions, in consultancies and as sole traders. Members of EAI investigate human-environment interactions through the scientific investigation of a wide variety of ancient remains, most often focusing on plants, wood, animals and insects. Newer approaches include isotope analysis (measuring the ratio of certain isotopes of chemical elements) and organic residue analysis (identification of molecular traces of lipids such as fats, oils and waxes preserved in ceramic vessels and other materials). Multi-disciplinary approaches are increasingly undertaken to enable multi-faceted perspectives on what people and animals ate in the past, how people organised their economies and societies, seasonality and mobility, how people interacted with their local environments and wider landscapes, and how people created their social and material worlds.
Over the past few years, EAI has organised several CPD (Continuous Professional Development) courses about environmental archaeology for the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, taken part in public events such as Archaeofest to show what environmental archaeologists do in a fun and engaging way, advocated for best practice in consultation with regulatory authorities and procurement agencies, and held a conference to celebrate the practice of environmental archaeology in Ireland and consider future directions.
In 2021, EAI is re-launching through a series of online seminars to disseminate findings and promote environmental archaeology in Ireland. See our Events page for further information.