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The Environmental Archaeology Lab

Research infrastructure The Environmental Archaeological Lab, MAL, is a national resource that engages in consultancy, research and development in environmental archaeology. The laboratory acts as a national research infrastructure in environmental archaeology and conducts environmental archaeological research and analysis on behalf of companies and organizations across the Nordic region.

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.

Interdisciplinary capacity

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.

About the Environmental Archaeology lab

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 environmental 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.

If you wish to send samples to the laboratory for analysis, please visit our consultancy page below.

News at MAL

SEK 7.7 million to develop the Archaeology Database SEAD
Published: 04 Dec, 2020

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond has granted SEK 7,728,000 to develop availability of data from tree ring analyses.

Philip Buckland elected to expert group for research infrastructure
Published: 12 Nov, 2020

They will strengthen the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reuse of research data.

New Scientist: Wealth gap in Europe already 6600 years ago
Published: 04 Aug, 2020

Archaeologists reveal that socioeconomic inequality developed in Europe earlier than previously believed.


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More about us


We have a broad knowledge base and can offer a range of analyses related to archaeology and natural sciences.


Learn more about our methods, projects, research infrastructure and publications.

Research infrastructure

The Environmental Archaeology Laboratory is a national research infrastructure for environmental archaeology.


We offer a international masters program in Landscape/Environmental Archaeology and a number of courses.


Staff, sample submission information and delivery addresses at the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory.