The Environmental Archaeology Lab (MAL)
How was waste disposed of in prehistory? What kind of landscape did the rock carving artists of Northern Sweden look at when they had a break? How can we date an ancient field with the help of methods from the natural sciences? Why did the Vikings place seeds and roots in their graves?
These are just a few of the question which have been posed to the Environmental Archaeology lab, and which can be answered through the application of a variety of analysis methods applied in a well-established research environment. MAL (the initials based on the Swedish name of the lab: Miljöarkeologiska laboratoriet) has built up an interdisciplinary capacity in terms of staff and infrastructure, to be able to respond to the needs of archaeological research, consultancy and the teaching of environmental archaeology.
The lab is also an active research and development unit, working towards the improvement of existing, and development of new, methods for interrogating and understanding the past.
The Department of Archaeology was founded in 1975 with a close connection to researchers in ecology and the natural sciences. As a consequence of these links and interests, the Environmental Archaeology Lab was created in 1993, and has since acted as a national resource for envronmental archaeology. MAL is now part of the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, with facilities located in the Humanities Building on Umeå University’s main campus.
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