Mission and Scope
The Boston University Environmental Archaeology Lab is devoted to the study of human interactions with past environments, focusing on the analysis of archaeological plant and animal remains from sites worldwide spanning the Paleolithic to the recent historical period. The laboratory opened for research in May of 2013 following renovation and installation of new equipment. It is well equipped for the microscopic analysis of plant remains (seeds, wood charcoal, phytoliths, starch grains, and pollen), bone and shell, soil and pottery thin sections, and polished ceramic and metal sections, using Leica transmission, incident light, and stereomicroscopes. Wet lab facilities allow the extraction of starch, phytolith, and pollen from artifacts and soil samples. Its comparative collections of seeds, wood charcoal, and pollen focus on the flora of the Mediterranean, Near East, and Central and East Asia, while comparative animal skeletons are mainly domestic and wild species of New England.