Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Samantha Lash

Email Address: 
[email protected]

Sam’s research sits at the intersection of environmental science and archaeology. She studies local variability within inferred patterns of land-use, economic systems, and climatic change during the 1st millennium BCE in the Western Mediterranean. The methodology of her work is based in palaeoclimatology and archaeometry embedded in a theoretical framework stemming from political ecology. Her dissertation examines the extent and ways that indigenous traditions and colonial innovations of rural production and settlement were combined or rejected in several coastal lowlands across the Western Mediterranean, as local communities adapted their own needs to colonial rule and its demands. These case studies are selected as physical and conceptual spaces of confrontation and negotiation between colonization policies and rural realities as shaped by different relationships to the natural world. This is based on her archaeological fieldwork in Sardinia, Central Italy, Tunisia, and Spain, supported in part by IBES. The analytical core of her dissertation stems from her research in DEEPS on developing a new methodology for extracting palaeoclimatic information directly from archaeological materials using a unique class of organic biomarkers. The basis for the application of GDGTs (glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraetherlipids) as chemical biomarkers is the assumption that variation in climatic variables, including mean annual air temperature, soil pH, and precipitation, over space and time are reflected in the composition and distribution of these compounds. Most recently, she has completed sampling in Spain and will resume her final lab work and analyses (including novel environment and climate reconstructions and a Mediterranean-specific calibration) for her dissertation (supported by IBES’ RT&T grant).

Brown University
More about Brown University