The Institute is a global leader in archaeobotany and zooarchaeology with a focus on domestication and early agriculture, and in Neolithic human demography
Archaeobotany is the study of plant remains from archaeological sites to better understand the environmental context of past societies and how the environment was exploited and modified. Particular research emphases include diet and food procurement, whether through gathering or cultivation, and the transformation of plants and landscapes through domestication. The types of plant remains studied here include macro-remains (from seeds, wood, and parenchyma tissues) and micro-remains (especially phytoliths and starch grains).
Zooarchaeology is the study of animal remains from archaeological sites, to understand all aspects of past human-animal interaction. Zooarchaeological research focuses on reconstructing past subsistence activities and the procurement of animal foods; past hunting and herding practices; animal domestications; animal remains as palaeoenvironmental indicators; and the role of animals in societies beyond serving as food.
Research is undertaken on European Neolithic crop and livestock complexes and Asian rice domestication in comparative perspective in collaboration with geneticists. Staff also work on the transition from hunting to herding, on early Neolithic technology and social structure, and on demographic instabilities in early farming societies, integrating stable isotopic and aDNA analyses.
The Institute has a large reference collection with an Old World emphasis. The archaeobotany laboratory is among the oldest in the UK, with teaching and research in this subject continuously since 1963. The Institute also has a historical strength in zooarchaeological research with excellent comparative collections (covering mammals from Europe and Asia) and laboratory facilities.
- Andean Technology
- The Archaeology of the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides)
- Azraq Project, Jordan
- Between the Mountains and the Flood - Early Neolithic Settlement Archaeology in Northwestern Romania
- Boncuklu Hoyuk Project
- Boxgrove Project
- Commensality, Cooking, Dining and the Politics of Gastronomy in the Near East
- Comparative Pathways to Agriculture (ComPAg)
- Cultivating Societies
- Cultural Evolution of Neolithic Europe (EUROEVOL)
- Early Farming in Dalmatia
- Early Rice Project
- Envronmental Ethics in Ancient India
- Feeding Stonehenge
- The Impact of Evolving of Rice Systems from China to Southeast Asia
- Indus Geomorphology
- Kharaneh IV: Epipalaeolithic Hunter-Gatherers in the Jordanian Steppe
- Lower Tilemsi Valley Project
- ORACEAF: The Origins of the Acheulean in East Africa
- Origins and Spread of Stock-keeping in the Near East and Europe
- Pleistocene Hunter-Gatherer subsistence in Sri Lanka
- Prehistoric hunting strategies in Jordan
- Pre-Pottery Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlements and subsistence economy
- Ramtek Survey
- Sanchi Survey Project
- Transmission of innovations: comparing and modelling the spread of farming practices in Europe (EUROFARM)