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Landscape archaeology, sustainability and the necessity of change

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sam Turner, Elif Koparal, Dr Stelios Lekakis, Dr Christopher SevaraORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


For future landscapes to be sustainable, significant changes in land-use and management practices will be needed. This article argues that landscape archaeology can make distinctive contributions to sustainability in two ways: firstly, by researching what were and were not sustainable ways of life in the past, and secondly by using this knowledge to explain how landscapes of the past differed to those of today, and in doing so to disrupt the invented connections between past societies, tradition, heritage and conservation. The article draws on three case-studies in China, the Mediterranean and the UK to suggest that archaeological knowledge could be used to help stakeholders imagine future landscapes which are better and more sustainable than those of today. To succeed archaeologists will need to make deeper commitments to transdisciplinary work.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Turner S, Kinnaird T, Koparal E, Lekakis S, Sevara C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: World Archaeology

Year: 2020

Volume: 52

Issue: 4

Pages: 589-606

Online publication date: 18/06/2021

Acceptance date: 17/05/2021

Date deposited: 17/05/2021

ISSN (print): 0043-8243

ISSN (electronic): 1470-1375

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2021.1932565


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Funder referenceFunder name
AH/P014453/1Arts & Humanities Research Council-AHRC (formerly AHRB)
AH/T000104/1Arts & Humanities Research Board-AHRB (now AHRC)
AF160103British Academy
H2020 657050
Newcastle University