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Laboratory Documentation

Standard Operating Procedures, guidence information and risk assessments are available from the Laboratory Documentation page.



In the Laboratory a wide range of microscopes for archaeobotanical analysis is present. There are:

  • stereo microscopes at low-power magnifications for the observation of macro-remains
  • reflected, epilluminated light microscopes at high-power magnification for the observation of charcoal remains
  • transmitted, polarised light microscope for the study of phytoliths and wood thin sections
  • SEM and Leica booking
  • Leica booking


Reference collections

The reference collection of the Laboratory comprises more than 4000 samples between seeds, fruits and wood.

Search the European Seed Collection

Search the World Grass Seed Collection

Search the World Economic Flora Collection

The reference samples come from all over the world, with many collected by lab members during fieldworks. There are numerous accessions from the collections of Prof. Martin Jones and D.T. Holyoak. Further material has been accessioned from botanical gardens.

The Laboratory has also a small reference collection of phytoliths, extracted from modern specimens and mounted on slides.

Search the GPR phytolith collection

The Wood and Charcoal reference Collection (Flora Europae)


Phytolith extractions

The Laboratory has all the facilities to carry out phytolith extraction. Phytoliths are silica bodies produced by plants and have proved to be very useful in archaeological research.

In the Laboratory, phytoliths are extracted both from archaeological soils and from modern plant specimens.


Reference texts

A small but comprehensive range of text books about archaeobotany and environmental archaeology is held in the Laboratory. All the texts and the Theses of the Laboratory's members may be consulted in the Laboratory prior obtaining permission from .



Facilities for the extraction and study of the stable isotopes of Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen are available in the adjacent Dorothy Garrod Laboratory for Isotopic Analysis



The Laboratory provides teaching and practicals for Undergraduate and Master Students on different subjects:

  • Archaeobotany
  • Crop processing
  • Wood and charcoal identification
  • Phytoliths and starch in archaeology