Charcoal and Wood Work Group
The Charcoal and Wood Work Group (CWWG) is aimed primarily at British specialists, working on British or international material. The group aims to foster communication and dissemination of ideas between specialists engaged in different studies of historical wood utilisation, such as wood-working technologists and wood anatomists, and also between those employed as freelancers or in commercial units and universities, as well as students.
Following the success of our waterlogged wood recording-themed meeting in York in June 2023, we would ideally like to hold an equivalent meeting for wood charcoal as the theme of our next work group’s session. Please contact Dana Challinor if you would like to host this or if you have ideas and offers to host a meeting on a different theme.
Minutes of previous meetings
CWWG weblist and contact for the group
The Charcoal and Wood weblist provides a digital forum for discussion, the dissemination of notices about conferences, meetings and publications, and promotes communication with international colleagues and researchers.
The CWWG can be contacted through the weblist or contact Dana Challinor direct: [email protected]
1) Identification text and keys
Books and journal articles
- Gale, R and Cutler, D 2000 'Plants in archaeology: identification manual of artefacts of plant origin from Europe and the Mediterranean' Otley: Westbury Publishing
- Hather, J 2000 'The identification of the northern European woods: a guide for archaeologists and conservators' London: Archetype Publications
- Phillips, EWJ 1941 ‘The identification of coniferous woods by their microscopic structure’ Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany 52(343), 259–320
- Schweingruber, FH 1990 'Microscopic Wood Anatomy: Structural Variability of Stems and Twigs in Recent and Subfossil Woods from Central Europe' [digital reprint available]
- Schweingruber, FH 1990 'Anatomy of European Woods: An Atlas for the Identification of European Trees, Shrubs and Dwarf Shrubs' [digital reprint available]
- InsideWood Database [international scope]
- Schoch, W, Heller, I, Schweingruber, FH and Kienast, F 2004 'Wood anatomy of central European Species'. Online version
- Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI)’s Wood Database [Japan]
- Kew’s Jodrell Laboratory Microscope Slide Collection [slides being digitised but not available online yet]
Charcoal and/or wood collections
- Lynch, AH and Gasson, PE 2010 'Index Xylariorum 4.1' Updated by IAWA/Frederic Lens in 2016 and published as the 'Overview of Wood Collections'
- Scheel-Ybert, R 2016 ‘Charcoal collections of the world’ IAWA Journal 37(3), 489–505 [Journal of IAWA – the International Association of Wood Anatomists]
2) Sampling and recording methodologies and resources
Books and journal articles
- Gärtner, H and Schweingruber, F 2013 'Microscopic Preparation Techniques for Plant Stem Analysis'. Download for free
- Marguerie, D and Hunot, J-Y 2007 ‘Charcoal analysis and dendrology: Data from archaeological sites in north-western France’ Journal of Archaeological Science 34, 1417–1433
- Charcoal Analysis Web by Eleni Asouti
- Integrated Archaeobotanical Research Project (charcoal and waterlogged wood)
Wood recording sheets
Historic England is creating a series of wood recording sheets to help standardise the recording of features and characteristics commonly encountered on archaeological wood (waterlogged and charcoal). Currently, two sheets for recording wood anatomical features for the basis of wood identifications (of NW European taxa) are available:
If you have any comments and suggestions on these, please email the author.
3) Historic England research reports
Historic England produces reports publishing results of research carried out both internally by in-house specialists and that commissioned to external specialists. You will be able to find reports relevant to wood and charcoal analysis using the keyword search facility on the research reports homepage.
Historic England also produces regional reviews on specialist subjects, of which the wood/charcoal ones are:
4) Wood identification training courses
Below is a list of some wood identification courses available. Note that inclusion here is not necessarily an indication of endorsement by Historic England – interested parties will have to make their own enquiries and form their own opinions.
- Wood Identification course, Kew, UK
- International Course on Wood Anatomy & Tree-Ring Ecology, Switzerland
- 1st International Training School on Wood Identification, Romania
5) Relevant conferences and meetings
Ruth PellingSenior Archaeobotanist
Fort Cumberland Road,