A collaborative venture between The Environmental Archaeology Lab and HUMLab, under the name of SEAD – The Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database, is scheduled to get underway in early May. The aim is to create a web-accessible, tool-rich and GIS-ready database to support research into past changes in environment, climate and human impact, based around environmental archaeology and Quaternary geology data. These data – which are the results of the quantification of fossil insects, seeds, pollen and soil properties – are our only source of information on these changes in prehistory. Changes in species compositions and numbers are the consequences of changes in environmental factors, such as hydrology, temperature and vegetation which vary both naturally and according to human influence. By looking at records of these in lake, bog and archaeological sediments we can reconstruct environmental aspects of the past; and the past, as we all know, is the key to both the present and the futureâ€¦
How does HUMLab fit in? Among other things, by providing a multidisciplinary forum for ideas, collaboration and outreach. SEAD will be run as an open development project, and so involvement is welcome from all angles. We are also recruiting, and if the project sounds like fun then please check out the job ad here. Later on, we will be interested in having students (at all levels) get involved in both developing software modules and undertaking research.