Scientific approaches to exploring the
Understanding the human environment and how humanity functions
and adapts within that environment - or alters the environment
to fit in with their own universal paradigm is a key aspect
Understanding the grassland environments that gave rise to
the agriculture package can only increase our knowledge of
when, why and how cereals have come to dominate modern human
Driven by a desire to maximise the potential information in
fossil pollen spectra we have developed a molecular based
method for the identification of fossil cereal and grass pollen
in sediment, for which morphological identification alone is
fraught with difficulties.
We have assessed, adapted and re-designed DNA extraction and
amplification methods from plant biochemistry, ancient DNA
research and soil microbiology, in collaboration with Prof.
Chris Howe, Dept.
Biochemistry, and Prof.
Martin Jones, Dept.
Archaeology, University of Cambridge. I have designed a
novel method for the rupturing of pollen cells under high hydrostatic
pressures, a major sticking point of any pollen
DNA protocol due to the resistant nature of sporopollenin (Bower
This research is funded by NERC