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The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: A Deeper Understanding of Human History

Product Code: TMS007
Series: TMS Special Publications
Author/Editor: Edited by M. Williams, T. Hill, I. Boomer and I.P. Wilkinson
Publication Date: 16 June 2017
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Microfossils are an abundant component of the sedimentary rock record. Their analysis can reveal not only the environments in which the rocks were deposited, but also their age. When combined, the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of microfossils offer enormous utility for archaeological and forensic investigations. Their presence can act as a geological ‘fingerprint’ and the tiniest fragment of material, such as a broken Iron Age potsherd, can contain a microfossil signature that reveals the geographical source of the materials under investigation. This book explores how microfossils are employed as tools to interpret human society and habitation throughout history. Examples include microfossil evidence associated with Palaeolithic human occupation at Boxgrove in Sussex, alongside investigations into human-induced landscape change during the Holocene. Further examples include the use of microfossils to provenance the source materials of Iron Age ceramics, Roman mosaics and Minoan pottery, in addition to their application to help solve modern murder cases, highlighting the diverse applications of microfossils to improving our understanding of human history.

Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781786203052
Publisher: GSL on behalf of TMS
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 304
Weight: 0.9 kg



Williams, M., Hill, T., Boomer, I. & Wilkinson, I. P. Microfossils and their utility for archaeological and forensic studies

Environmental applications to archaeology

Whittaker, J. E. & Parfitt, S. A. The palaeoenvironment of the important Middle Pleistocene hominin site at Boxgrove (West Sussex, UK) as delineated by the foraminifera and ostracods

Gearey, B. R., Hopla, E.-J., Boomer, I., Smith, D., Marshall, P., Fitch, S., Griffiths, S. & Tappin, D. R. Multi-proxy palaeoecological approaches to submerged landscapes: a case study from ‘Doggerland’, in the southern North Sea

Innes, J. B. & Blackford, J. J. Palynology and the study of the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in the British Isles

Hill, T., Whittaker, J., Brunning, R., Law, M., Bell, M., Ramsey, C. B., Dunbar, E. &Marshall, P. Palaeoenvironmental investigations of a Mesolithic–Neolithic sedimentary sequence from Queen’s Sedgemoor, Somerset

Grant, M. J. & Waller, M. Resolving complexities of pollen data to improve interpretation of past human activity and natural processes

Mazzini, I., Rossi, V., Da Prato, S. & Ruscito, V. Ostracods in archaeological sites along the Mediterranean coastlines: three case studies from the Italian peninsula

Provenance analysis in archaeological contexts

Wilkinson, I. P. Micropalaeontological applications in archaeology: mobility and provenance

Quinn, P. S. Calcareous nannofossils as a tool for the provenance determination of archaeological ceramics, building materials and related artefacts

Dunkley Jones, T., Magrill, P., Hefetz, M. W., Cotton, L. & Pearson, P. N. The contribution of micropalaeontology to the study of Bronze Age potters’ workshops at Tel Lachish, Israel and the biostratigraphy of the Lachish area

Wilkinson, I. P., Williams, M., Stocker, C., Whitbread, I., Boomer, I., Farman, T. & Taylor, J. Microfossils in Iron Age and Romano-British ceramics from eastern England

Tasker, A., Wilkinson, I. P. & Williams, M. Mosaics and microfossils

Forensic applications

Brown, T. Forensic applications of micropalaeontology

Levkov, Z., Williams, D. M., Nikolovska, D., Tofilovska, S. & Čakar, Z. The use of diatoms in forensic science: advantages and limitations of the diatom test in cases of drowning

Bailey, H. W., Gallagher, L. T., Moncrieff, A. &Wood, C. J. Calcareous micropalaeontology in forensic investigations, with particular reference to the so-called ‘Soham murder case’



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