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Archaeological studies of social communities use the term “community” in two ways, paralleling usage in other areas. The first is an informal definition of community as a place where people used to live. In this sense it is synonymous with the concept of an ancient settlement – whether a hamlet, village, town, or city.

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The second meaning resembles the usage of the term in other social sciences: a community is a group of people living near one another who interact socially.

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Social interaction on a small scale can be difficult to identify with archaeological data. Most reconstructions of social communities by archaeologists rely on the principle that social interaction in the past was conditioned by physical distance. Therefore, a small village settlement likely constituted a social community and spatial subdivisions of cities and other large settlements may have formed communities.

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Archaeologists typically use similarities in material culture—from house types to styles of pottery—to reconstruct communities in the past. This classification method relies on the assumption that people or households will share more similarities in the types and styles of their material goods with other members of a social community than they will with outsiders.

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Ecology has practical applications in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology).

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It is not treated as separate from humans. Organisms (including humans) and resources compose ecosystems which, in turn, maintain biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the planet.

  • Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions
  • and produce natural capital like biomass
  • production (food, fuel, fiber, and medicine),
  • the regulation of climate, global
  1. The scope of ecology contains a wide array of interacting
  2. levels of organization spanning micro-level (e.g., cells)
  3. to a planetary scale (e.g., biosphere) phenomena.
  4. Ecosystems, for example, contain abiotic resources