Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Samantha Lash

Anthropology and Archaeology


Sam’s research sits at the intersection of environmental science and archaeology and she works to address assumptions and transdisciplinary misunderstandings that lead to the misalignment and misinterpretation of climate and archaeological data in Mediterranean environmental history. She studies local variability within inferred patterns of land-use, economic systems, and environmental 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. In addition, Sam's research includes collaborative work in DEEPS developing a novel method application for extracting palaeoclimatic information directly from archaeological materials using a unique class of organic biomarkers (GDGTs).