Reconstruction drawing of medieval tannery

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Reconstruction of late medieval life on the urban fringe by Judith Dobie © Historic England

Environmental Archaeology

Environmental archaeology is the study of our relationship with the environment throughout history, using techniques from biology and geology .Historic England, and its predecessor, English Heritage, have produced technical guidance covering a range of topics in environmental archaeology. This page provides an introduction to these documents.

You can contact our Science Advisors for direct advice or contact our Environmental Archaeologists for advice on specific subject areas.

On 1 April 2015 the part of English Heritage represented on this website changed its name to Historic England. You may notice that some of our content still refers to English Heritage. We are in the process of rebranding, but in the meantime please be assured that all our content and guidance is still current.

Environmental Archaeology

Published 1 August 2011

A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Methods, from Sampling and Recovery to Post-excavation (second edition)

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Animal Bones and Archaeology - Recovery to archive

Published 17 June 2019

Handbook on dealing with archaeological animal bones and teeth, from project planning through to post-excavation.

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Published 9 December 2015

Geoarchaeology is the application of earth science to the understanding of the archaeological record. The guidelines aim to promote the understanding of different techniques used by geoarchaeologists and advise on how they can help in understanding strati.

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Guidelines for the Curation of Waterlogged Macroscopic Plant and Invertebrate Remains

This guidance document provides information on the curation (ie treatment, handling and storage) of small (up to c 50mm) organic remains, primarily specimens or parts of plants and insects, recovered during excavation, sampling or analysis of waterlogged or anoxic archaeological deposits.

It is currently being revised to take account of recent research on the survival of DNA in such biological remains and how best to promote the survival of DNA and enhance the prospects for future research in existing collections and in newly recovered material.

Please email Gill Campbell for further information and advice. Gill can also provide a copy of the 1st edition of the guidance on request.

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