9.1 Introduction

A panel of specialists working in environmental archaeology and archaeological science was brought together to develop aspects of the PKARF relating to archaeological and environmental science. While it was originally planned that these contributions would be incorporated into each period chapter, once drafted it was felt more beneficial for them to be retained as a separate chapter.

The aim was to:

  • provide a broad but non-exhaustive summary of the extent of current knowledge including a critical review of how environmental and scientific techniques have been applied to archaeological research across the region;
  • produce short glossary-style method summaries which provide brief explanations – for a lay audience – of each environmental/scientific technique covered by the Panel;
  • create short glossary-style value statements for each environmental/scientific technique covered by the Panel highlighting why it is important/how it can be applied;
  • identify ‘gaps’ where techniques haven’t been applied in the region but have potential to contribute to future research;
  • suggest methodological refinements or improvements that could be made to cater for regional distinctiveness or to better integrate techniques within future research agendas;
  • give case studies that characterise best practice application of techniques in commercial, academic and community-led contexts and the types of information that can be achieved;
  • develop future research questions and a techniques matrix that details the techniques available and the types of research question they can help to answer.

This chapter has sought to broadly consider the ScARF Archaeological Science Framework themes of chronology, Human and Animal Sciences, Understanding Materials, and People and Environment.