University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you.

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings.

Environmental Science Services

deliver logo

We have excellent geochemistry laboratories with facilities for inorganic quantitative mineralogical and elemental determinations. We can undertake AAS; XRD; XRF(Lab and portable); ICP-OES; ICP-MS; as well as organic determinations GC, HPLC, GC/MS; GC‑C‑IRMS.

We also have world-class facilities for the analysis of inorganic and organic compounds for bulk and compound specific stable isotope composition (δ2H, δ13C, δ18O, δ15N), as well as bulk organic samples, carbonates and liquids.

We have the equipment and expertise available for the analysis of radiogenic isotopes (210Pb, Pb isotopes, U-series). As well as equipment for measurement of Nitrate, Ammonia, Phosphate, Chloride and Carbon in soils, sediments and water.

Our dedicated sedimentology and soil science laboratories allow us to undertake sediment description, soil micromorphology, particle size analysis, magnetic susceptibility, porosity, grain density, peat humification, phosphate, organic matter determinations, inorganic carbon, total organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and cation exchange capacity.

We also have strong links to the University's on site Chemical Analysis Facility which boasts a state of the art instrument suite offering NMR spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry, Optical Spectroscopy and Thermal Analysis. As well as access to the comprehensive facilities and expertise of the on-site Electron Microscopy Laboratory providing electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), X-ray microanalysis (EDX, WDX) and visible light and IR microscopy.

Computing and computer graphics suite supporting PC systems, ArcGIS geographical information systems (GIS), Rockworks, Erdas Imagine landscape analysis and visualization and remote sensing, including high-resolution photogrammetric surveys using unmanned aerial vehicles.

The projects have involved a diverse range of analyses on a variety of materials based within the following themes:

Soil and vegetation

Elemental analysis of soils, plants, fertilisers and organic amendments, as well as extensive experience of carbon fractionation, sequential extraction of potentially toxic elements, bioavailability/bioaccessibility assessment of PAHs, batch sorption isotherms, and soil microbial community fingerprinting.

Full characterisation of soil fertility and crop health including soil nutrient availability, water release curves, particle size distribution, soil biological health (CO2 burst, enzyme assays), micronutrient analysis of soils and plants, cation exchange capacity, leaf chlorophyll content, greenhouse gas release and geomorphological mapping using remote sensing observations.

Minerals, metals and waste

Comprehensive chemical analysis of a range of minerals and metals drawing on the geochemical experience within the School, including polluted soil and sediments, modern and archaeological coins, mineral deposits and minewater from abandoned mine sites.

Physical and chemical analysis of biochars, anaerobic digestates, composts and sludges prior to land application including nutritive value, potential for contamination, physical structure, and effects on soil health


Analysis of water samples for a full suite of organic, inorganic and isotopic chemical properties including dissolved organic carbon, nitrate, phosphate, and bespoke analysis of trace contaminants (e.g. Metaldehyde) in surface water, groundwater and brackish water.

Assimilation and modelling of high-frequency water flow/quality data for catchment-based and individual flow modelling for forecasting floods, droughts and environmental impacts. Land surface modelling of soil-vegetation-atmosphere micrometerological and hydrological data to predict water stress on canopy exchange.

Geochemical analysis

Full analysis and dating of a variety of organic samples from plants (e.g. seeds, pollen grains, diatoms) and animals (e.g. hair, fur, feathers, fish scales) for elemental composition, stable and reactive isotopes, and microscale morphology using electron microscopy.

Full analysis of inorganic materials (e.g. water, soil, rock samples, flints) for elemental fingerprinting, mineralogical characterisation, elemental speciation, and isotopic composition.

Contact us

Archaeological Science:

Rob Batchelor

+44 (0) 118 378 8941;

+44 (0) 7734 530 438 

Hester Crothers

Mike Simmonds  

+44 (0) 118 378 8853

Rhys Timms


Postal Address:

Quaternary Scientific, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science (SAGES),
The University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 227, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK