Environmental Sampling Group

Environmental processing and seeds and microfossils

Part of the Artefacts and Archives Research Groups

Samples of soil collected on archaeological excavations can be processed by sieving and by flotation. The biological remains from the cleaning process can be an excellent source of archaeological information. These include the preserved remains of plants, including seeds, pollen and charcoal, and also animals such as microfossils. The results may reveal how people’s lives were influenced and changed by the environments in which they lived.

Artefact analysis is a very important part of the post-excavation process that must be carried out before a site report can be written. Environmental sampling can also be a fun social activity and is a way to learn more about archaeological artefacts. Prior experience is not necessary, just a keen interest to learn about archaeological finds processing. We are also keen to expand the groups and would welcome anyone with or without experience but with the enthusiasm to help build a picture of Surrey’s past.

We would also like to encourage people to join the on site finds team who help to clean and mark finds on our excavations. For further information please contact Nikki Cowlard - info@surreyarchaeology.org.uk