Sheffield Archaeobotanical Consultancy

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High quality, efficient and professional services for the processing and analysis of archaeobotanical and palynological samples.

Archaeological plant remains can provide important information on human diet, trade, economy, agricultural practices, building construction, animal diet, and local environmental history. The analysis of these remains is an essential tool for investigating past human activities and is now an established practice in commercial archaeology.

Specialist analysis of charred and waterlogged plant macroremains, wood charcoal and pollen including:

  • On-site sampling and processing;
  • Equipment hire;
  • Advice on sampling strategies;
  • Samples from field evaluations processed and rapidly assessed for a range of palaeoenvironmental evidence;
  • Recommendations for suitable further analysis targeted at selected samples;
  • Full analysis of plant materials taken to publication standard;
  • Reports written according to English Heritage guidelines;
  • Archaeobotanical photography and illustration;
  • All work carried out using laboratory facilities, comprehensive reference collections and specialist knowledge in the Sheffield Centre for Archaeobotany and ancient Land-usE, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield

Contact Sheffield Archaeobotanical Consultancy

Telephone: +44 (0) 1142 222933

Sheffield Archaeobotanical Consultancy
University of Sheffield
Department of Archaeology
Northgate House
West Street
Sheffield, S1 4ET

World-class specialists in the analysis of archaeological plant remains.

Reference CollectionThe Sheffield Archaeobotanical Consultancy is based within the Sheffield Centre for Archaeobotany and ancient Land-usE in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. Our experienced staff have worked as archaeobotanical specialists for commercial units and on internationally recognised research projects including the Stonehenge Riverside Project, and the Çatalhöyük excavations for many years. We have expertise in the analysis of material from Britain, Europe and the Near East from all types of context and in all periods, from early prehistoric to industrial.


Within the centre we have equipment for on-site flotation of soil samples, as well as laboratory facilities for off-site processing, laboratory analysis and photography. We have microscopes suitable for the analysis of plant macroremains, wood charcoal and pollen. The centre also has image analysis equipment suitable for publication quality photography.

Sheffield Archaeobotanical Consultancy has access to a comprehensive seed reference collection comprising a wide range of Near Eastern and European crop and wild plant species, a modern charred wood reference collection, and an extensive pollen collection.

On-site sampling and initial assessments to full publication reports

We offer on-site sampling as well as advice on sampling strategies aimed at maximising the recovery of different classes of palaeoenvironmental evidence. Samples can be processed on site or in house using appropriate techniques.

We provide several levels of reporting: initial assessment reports, full reports and publication. The level of reporting for each project can be negotiated with the client according to requirements and resources. Initial assessment reports provide an estimation of the abundance of material and taxonomic diversity, useful in its own right and for planning more detailed work. A full report includes more accurate species identification, quantification and interpretation of archaeobotanical data. Full reports can be taken to publication standard, in the context of previously published work. The Centre has particular expertise in the statistical analysis of archaeobotanical data. High quality photography and archaeobotanical illustration can also be provided. All work is overseen by Professor Glynis Jones.

Our facilities:

  • On-site flotation and coring equipment;
  • Laboratory for sample processing;
  • Fully equipped microscopy suite;
  • Extensive seed, wood charcoal and pollen reference collections;
  • Large archaeobotanical reference library;
  • High quality digital imaging

We pride ourselves on completing projects within deadlines and carrying out work to a high standard.

Quotes available on request at competitive rates.