Department of Archaeology

Science in Culture

Image from the University of Nottingham Archaeology Labs

 Together we are demonstrating how culturally informed science can enrich our understanding of the human past whilst generating deep-time evidence to inform its future



‘Science’ is often set in opposition to ‘culture’ (eg, BSc versus BA) but this artificial divide reduces the power of all researchers on the Arts-Science continuum. We believe collaboration is the only way to understand humanity’s dynamics, complexities and impacts.

Our department leads the field in culturally informed science. Our staff work closely with geochemists, geneticists, biologists, climate scientists and/or imaging specialists, to address questions that cannot be answered without hard science, but would never have been asked in the absence of cultural knowledge.

We have a unique relationship with the British Geological Survey’s Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, undertaking isotope analysis to explore the chemical composition of objects (eg, glass and metals) but also soils/sediments and the remains of plants, animals and people. When viewed through a cultural lens, the results tell us about issues of pollution, how and where things were made and how plants and animals were raised and traded. They also reveal how human and animal relationships, diets and migration patterns have changed through time, and, more importantly, why.

Most of our analyses are conducted in-house, within our dedicated archaeological laboratories for isotope preparation, archaeobotany, osteoarchaeology, imaging, and ancient materials research. Together we are demonstrating how culturally informed science can enrich our understanding of the human past whilst generating deep-time evidence to inform its future.



  • High resolution survey of Port Royal (Jamaica)
  • Egadi: digitally recording an ancient submerged naval battlefield (Italy)
  • Presence in the Past, Egypt
  • Projection Augmented Relief Models in Underwater Archaeology
  • The Historic Ice Core Project
  • Origins of the post-Roman western European metals economy
  • Dovedale/Peak/wild bears
  • Doghole Cave
  • Migration narratives: an archaeological perspective
  • Themes in early Human evolution: integrating the evidence
  • Effects of lead pollution on landscapes and people in the Peak District
  • Origins of metallurgy
  • Hard cheese: upland pastoralism in the Italian Bronze and Iron Ages
  • Chicken Project and Going Places (Ethiopia) Project Easter Eg – Shifting Baselines and Changing Perceptions of Cultural and Biological ‘Aliens’
  • Nine Lives, Nine Tails, One Health (Cats project)
  • Dogs project – time-core through England looking at human-dog isotopes, metrics, pathology
  • The Archaeology of Colours
  • The bioarchaeology of ritual and religion 
  • Cova des Pas, Minorca, Spain- plants in burials 
  • Foodways of Roman and medieval Barcelona 
  • Archaeobotany in the Aegean
  • The origins of ancient glass 
  • Mapping medieval Silk Road interactions using glass and ceramics 
  • Islamic glass production and provenance 
  • Bear-baiting in early modern England
  • Migration narratives: an archaeological perspecitive 
  • Posoned chalice: The effects of lead on human health in Britain 


Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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