The ecosystem services framework in archaeology (and vice versa)

Ofir Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Economics, ecology and archaeology study various aspects of resource utilisation and mobilisation, differing in the studied systems, objects and currencies. However, the three disciplines have developed mostly independently, resulting in limited dialogue among them. Emergent fields such as ecological economics and environmental archaeology are now linking the three disciplines and promoting dialogue among them, but a theoretical framework that links all three disciplines at once is missing. I propose that ecosystem services (ES) can serve as such a theoretical framework. Moreover, after an ES-centred framework establishes, it will be capable of further evolving – independently of ES—into a unified superdiscipline, relieving boundaries among disciplines. To demonstrate this potential, I present some examples of archaeology-ES linkages, relating to the past, present and future. I show, in general, how archaeology studies past ES and informs us on current ES, as well as how ES benefit archaeological practice. Thus, I demonstrate the strong interface between archaeology and ES, and how it can promote the dialogue among the three disciplines, provide them with new practical tools, and resolve theoretical issues as the sustainability of ancient societies and anthropocentricity and monetisation of ES. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1460
Number of pages11
JournalPeople and Nature
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • archaeology
  • ecology
  • economics
  • ecosystem services
  • heritage landscapes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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