Palaeoecology Research Services

Palaeoecology (also known as environmental archaeology or bioarchaeology) is the study of biological remains (e.g. bone, shell, plants, insects and microfossils) from archaeological sites, with a view to reconstructing elements of living conditions in the past e.g. diet, economy and sanitation. The analysis of these remains is now considered one of the fundamental tools of understanding the development and change of human activities through time and as such, forms an important part of archaeological contract work.

Palaeoecology Research Services (PRS), formerly based in the Environmental Archaeology Unit, University of York, was established in 1994 to undertake these studies. We subsequently moved to premises in Shildon (near Darlington), County Durham, in 2001 and relocated to Kingston upon Hull in September 2009, from where we will continue to provide our usual professional and fully integrated service.


We offer a range of services including:

  • rapid evaluation of bio-archaeological remains from threatened sites
  • assessment of biological remains for post-excavation project design
  • full post-excavation studies of biological material through to publication text
  • the supply of sample storage and on-site sieving equipment


We provide integrated reports based on the identification and interpretation of many classes of biological remains from archaeological deposits including:

  • plant macrofossils, pollen, wood
  • animal and human bone
  • insects and other non-mollusc invertebrates
  • land, freshwater and marine molluscs
  • intestinal parasitic nematodes
  • diatoms


and can facilitate additional services:

  • radiocarbon dating
  • the interpretation of archaeological sediments