Equipment & Collections

The Environmental Archaeology Laboratory features brand-new Leica Microsystems microscopes and imaging systems for the analysis and documentation of a variety of archaeological and comparative materials. In addition to our microscopy laboratory, we maintain a separate, code-compliant wet lab with a fume hood for chemical preparation of botanical microremains (pollen, phytoliths, starch grains) from archaeological materials and sediments. We also partner with other laboratories across the Boston University campuses to offer dedicated analytical and comparative collections, including the Zooarchaeology Laboratory (BU Dept. of Archaeology), the Stable Isotope Laboratory (BU Dept. of Biology), the Chemical Instrumentation Center (BU Dept. of Chemistry), and the Forensic Anthropology Human Osteology Laboratory (BU Medical School, Dept. of Anatomy). Other partnering institutions in Boston include the Boston College Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry Facility (Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences), the Harvard University Herbaria, and Arnold Arboretum.

Within the laboratory, we host botanical comparative collections of seeds, wood, phytoliths, starch, and pollen, as well as herbarium voucher specimens. We are in the process of imaging these collections and will make those images publicly available, in an easily searchable format, in the near future. We also host a library of wood and seed atlases, as well as anatomical texts for the identification of human and animal bones.


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Facilities & Equipment

The Environmental Archaeology Laboratory features brand-new Leica Microsystems microscopes and imaging systems for the analysis and documentation of a variety of archaeological and comparative materials. In addition to our microscopy laboratory, we maintain a separate, code-compliant wet lab with a fume hood for chemical preparation of botanical microremains (pollen, phytoliths, starch grains) from archaeological materials and sediments.



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Collections Database

Our searchable FileMaker database of the BU Environmental Archaeology Laboratory collections is now available. Click on the link for instructions to access the database remotely.



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Seed Images

Our database of microscopic seed images is now available, although more images will be added throughout Fall 2014. This Flickr database includes both modern comparative collections and archaeological seeds.