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PalaeoFest: a citizen science workshop on reconstructing past landscape

June 30 - July 3


PalaeoFest: a citizen science workshop on reconstructing past landscapes
DATES: Sunday 30th June – Weds 3rd July 2019, 10:00-4:00 pm.
VENUE: Hatfield Moors Education Centre

Learn more about how scientists reconstruct past landscapes and environments from the mud beneath our feet! This event is for members of the public who wish to understand how we study past environments and anyone who wishes to have a 4-day crash course in pollen analysis and interpretation. It is also suitable for students in archaeology and geography.

The event is restricted to up to 15 participants; participants should agree to attend at least 2 out of the 4 days. Please make sure you have booked your place on each day. Please see the Eventbrite link to confirm your place. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/palaeofest-a-citizen-science-workshop-on-reconstructing-past-landscapes-tickets-63454358695

There is no cost to participants, just an enthusiasm to learn!

About this Event
This workshop run by Project Wildscape is an opportunity to learn how researchers study and interpret past landscapes, how they find out what they looked like and what people were doing in them.

Background: In waterlogged places like bogs or lakes, sediment builds up over the years, trapping in its layers the remains of plants and animals living in and around the wetland. By sampling a core of sediment, slicing it into layers, and analysing the contents of each layer, researchers can begin to build up a picture of the communities around the wetland, and therefore of the landscapes they lived in.

Volunteers have already helped the Wildscapes project to take cores across the Levels, looking for the sediments left by the former wetlands, which are currently hidden under the modern drained and intensively farmed landscape. Some have also already started to look at the pollen grains found within the peaty cores.

What you’ll be doing: In this workshop, we will focus on what happens once a core is taken, and get hands-on experience of looking at sediment and pollen samples from the Humberhead Levels, which are several thousand years old.

After some initial talks and an introduction to some of the basic pollen types, you will get the opportunity to look at pollen grains in more detail through images and looking down the microscope to see the fossil material for yourself. As you advance, you will identify and count pollen from our study site at Messic Mere. Over the course of the 4 days you will become an expert in identifying the basic pollen grain types. On the final day, we will produce our own pollen diagram and discuss the significance of the material and compare with other information from the vicinity. We will also ask your opinions on what you think the landscape may have looked like and how your understandings may have changed following the work.

Who its for: You don’t need to know ANYTHING about the subject before you come, it’s our job to teach you all about it during the workshop. This workshop is for anyone wanting to learn more about how researchers find out about past landscapes and environments from the mud beneath our feet! This is the third and longest workshop of a series of events – we want to give you a chance to be part of the team and reconstruct past landscapes of the Humberhead Levels.

If you attended our first two workshops and would like to deepen your learning you are especially welcome but anyone who has not attended before is welcome as we will set up different activities that reflect the levels of experience.

Why come along? The Project Wildscape team is passionate about what they do and would like to share this passion with others. Rather than just telling you about it, we want you to join in with the practical aspects of this work to see if you enjoy it as much as we do!

This is the third of a series of workshops, where volunteers, with the help of the project team, are investigating the environmental history of a previously unstudied location from the Humberhead Levels.

This event will run in conjunction with another Wildscapes event focused on coring and Geoarchaeology; you can sign up for this event separately.

Sunday 30th June, 10-4pm: microscopy, data collection
Monday 1st July, 10-4pm: microscopy, data collection, option to help with coring
Tuesday 2nd July, 10-4 pm: microscopy, data collection, option to help with coring
Wednesday 3rd July 10-4 pm: data collation, presentation, interpretation and discussion

Who will be teaching?
Dr Jane Bunting is a Reader in Physical Geography at the University of Hull
Prof Henry Chapman is a Professor of Archaeology, University of Birmingham
Dr Kim Davies is a Research Fellow in past environments and peatlands at the University of Cork, Ireland
Dr Michelle Farrell is a Lecturer in Physical Geography at Coventry University.
Dr Ben Gearey is a Lecturer in Environmental Archaeology, University of Cork, Ireland
Dr Suzi Ritcher in an environmental archaeologist and runs the consultancy Richer Environmental; she is also an Honorary Associate at the University of York.
Ms Nika Shilobod is a PhD student on the Wildscapes Project at the University of Plymouth
Dr Nicki Whitehouse is an Associate Professor (Reader) at the University of Plymouth

(Please note that not everyone will be in attendance at any one time). Their research focuses on understanding how landscapes in Britain have changed over long time scales and what role humans have played in shaping these changes.

Any questions? If you’re interested in coming along but you have some more questions we’re happy to answer these before you sign up. Please contact Dr Nicki


Hatfield Moors
Hatfield Moors, off A614 Bawtry Road
Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN7 6DS United Kingdom
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