Palaeoenvironmental Analysis

Our team offers expert advice on all aspects of palaeoenvironmental archaeology, agreeing appropriate techniques, sampling strategies, specialist analysis and reporting.

Featured Projects

Location: Scotland, Sector: Transport, Service: Contracting, Service: Evaluation, Service: Excavation, Service: Finds, Service: Palaeoenvironmental Analysis, Service: Publication, Service: Specialist
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Location: South & East, Sector: Transport, Service: Contracting, Service: Geoarchaeology, Service: Monitoring, Service: Palaeoenvironmental Analysis, Service: Specialist
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Palaeoenvironmental archaeology uses carefully selected recovery techniques to put archaeological sites into their environmental context and provides evidence on such things as diet, economy and living conditions.  Commonly required as a part of most site investigations, we  make the scale and scope of our work relevant to the project objectives.

The assessment stage is critical to the process as we evaluate the survival and significance of any archaeological remains. With this information to hand we are able to use the best possible combination of in-house botanists, sedimentologists and entomologists together with other recognised colleagues from the wider archaeological community.

Our in-house specialisms include:

  • Archaeobotany & charcoal analysis: Plant remains most commonly survive on archaeological sites through being charred or in conditions that have remained waterlogged since deposition. These remains provide evidence for the type of crops grown, foods consumed and of the environment around the site which are often very different from today’s. Recovery of the archaeobotanical remains generally requires the use of flotation or other wet-sieving techniques followed by detailed microscope work. Headland has all of the essential equipment, extensive reference collections and many years’ experience in these types of analyses.
  • Sedimentology: The study of soils and sediments and an understanding of formation processes are an essential part of any site interpretation. Our in-house team is particularly experienced in the interpretation of peat and other organic deposits both on land and offshore. Such analyses can accurately characterise the topography and nature of buried or submerged landscapes enabling detailed reconstructions and better understanding.
  • Insect & Mollusc remains: In certain circumstances remains of insects, land snail and sea shells are recovered during excavation. Some taxa occupy very specific ecological niches and can therefore be used to identify whether archaeological sites were operating in, for example, an open or wooded environment or to provide information on living conditions, flooring and roofing materials and even diet.

Our environmental team is very used to assessing the value of all categories of palaeoenvironment material but, where the need arises, we routinely use other specialist associates who are also able to offer environmental analyses of pollen, diatoms, soil micromorphology, human and animal bone and a wide range of dating techniques.

Meet Our Key Staff

Tim Holden