Plant Diversity - Modules
Vegetation history and Archaeobotany
The reconstruction of vegetation history through modern techniques in archaeobotany is a major tool in understanding climate change and the use of plants by humans. The aim of this module is to develop knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of the reconstruction of vegetation history, climate change, and past plant economies and diet, using sub-fossil micro- and macroscopic plant remains.
Palaeobotany and archaeobotany are major research areas and employ a range of methods, such as the analysis of plant microfossils and macrofossils - pollen, diatoms, wood, seeds and mosses - which are recovered from geological and archaeological archives.
This module provides a detailed account of theoretical and practical approaches in archaeobotany, and demonstrates, through lectures, laboratory practical classes, seminars and a field trip, how palaeobotanical and archaeobotanical records provide information on the human environment, resource exploitation and subsistence.
By the end of the module, student should be able to: critically evaluate palaeobotanical evidence for natural vegetation succession, human interference in vegetation succession and climate change; critically evaluate archaeobotanical evidence for human utilisation of plants; understand current theoretical issues and debates in research; demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of relevant methods through fieldwork, laboratory work and seminars, and identify, describe, interpret, integrate and present information in the form of a scientific report.
Assignments include: Laboratory practical reports, a PowerPoint seminar presentation and a field trip notebook.
This module is 20 credits and runs in the Spring term and is taught by \Professor Nicholas Branch, Head of the School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Science