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Carol Lang
ERC Postdoctoral Research Associate: AAREA



I joined the department of archaeology in 2014 as a research associate on the ERC-funded ‘Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa’ project (AAREA). I gained a BSc in Environmental Science in 2010, from the University of Stirling, my research centred on soil science, palaeoecology and geomorphological process. For my dissertation, I focused on geoarchaeology and experimental archaeology of historical vernacular architecture in the Borno region of Nigeria, with particular emphasis on the environmental pressures of material manufacture on the landscape and its subsequent responses.

My PhD research began in 2010 at the University of York where I was part of the wider multidisciplinary ERC-funded InterArChive project. The aim of my research was to investigate the effects that archaeological, specifically historical European, human inhumations have on the surrounding soil environment, with soil micromorphology and inorganic chemical analysis being utilised on soil samples collected from single and mass burials.   

During my writing-up year of my PhD I worked at the University of Stirling (2013-2014) as a Soil Thin Section Technician, under the guidance of George Macleod. 


Selected publications

Pickering, M., Lang, C., Usai, M.R., Keely, B. and Brothwell, D. 2014. Organic residue analysis of soils. In: Loe, L., Boyle, A., Webb, H. and Score, D. (Eds.) “Given to the ground”: a Viking age mass grave on Ridgeway Hill, Weymouth. Oxbow Books.

Wright, D. K., MacEachern, S., Choi, J., Choi, J-H., Lang, C. and Djoussou, J-M. D. 2017 Iron Age Landscapes of the Benue River Valley, Cameroon. Journal of Field Archaeology (Accepted manuscript).

Ferro-Vazquez, C., Lang, C., Kaal, J., Stump, D., 2017. When is a terrace not a terrace?  The importance of understanding landscape evolution in studies of terraced agriculture. Journal of Environmental Management

Lang, C. and Stump, D. 2017. Geoarchaeological evidence for the construction, irrigation, cultivation and resilience of the 15th-18th-century AD terraced landscape at Engaruka, Tanzania. Quaternary Research (Accepted)



My research interests centres on the anthropogenic effects that can be identified through the narrative of soil/sediments. Through techniques of soil thin section micromorphology and the application of soil inorganic analysis these narratives can be exposed to reveal long-term human relationships with environment processes.


  • The Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa (AAREA)
  • InterArChive project
  • The Scottish Iron Age Vitrified Hill Forts (SIAVH) Project: An independent research project in conjunction with the University of Stirling into the methodologies employed in the vitrification of Iron Age hill forts within Scotland. This project employs stratigraphically controlled archaeology with soil micromorphology, inorganic geochemical analysis and experimental archaeology to investigate the methods used and temperatures attained during the vitrification process. 



I have taught on the following modules (2011-2013):

Study Skill - tutor (1st Year)

Accessing Archaeology - tutor (1st Year)

Research Skill - assistant (2nd Year)

The Archaeology of Colonialism - tutor (3rd Year)

Themes: Historic Slavery - tutor and module developer (2nd Year)

Other teaching

Tutor and module developer of the ‘for pleasure’ courses for the Centre for Lifelong Learning:

  • The Biosphere: An Introduction to Environmental Science. 
  • Soils: What They Tell Us.
  • Soils: What The Microscope Tells Us.

External activities


Society membership of:

  • British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) (M.I.Soil Sci)
  • Association of Environmental Archaeology (AEA)
  • Society of Africanist Achaeologists (SAfA)

Invited talks and conferences

  • Lang, C & Stump, D. 2015. 2016. Re-writing the historical perceptions of semi-arid agriculture at the abandoned site of Engaruka, NE Tanzania. European Geoscience Union, Viennna, Austria
  • Lang, C & Stump, D. 2015. A Geoarchaeological Contribution to the Study of Archaeological Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa. Developing International Geoarchaeology. University of Sassi, Sardinia
  • Lang, C., Usai, M-R., Wilson, C. A. & Brothwell, D. R. 2013. The Hidden Archaeological Archive Locked in Soils from Mass Graves. Soil Micromorphology International Workshop, McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, Cambridge.
  • Lang, C., Usai, M-R., Wilson, C. A. & Brothwell, D. R. 2013. Soil legacies in human inhumations. 3D Archaeology Group, Harrogate
  • Lang, C., Usai, M-R., Wilson, C. A. & Brothwell, D. R. 2012. InterArChive, unlocking the hidden soil archive from archaeological human burials. ALGAO: Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers, Scotland. Human Remains conference, Edinburgh.
  • Lang, C., Usai, M-R., Wilson, C. A. & Brothwell, D. R. 2012. Unlocking the Hidden Legacy of Human Soil Inhumation: Micromorphology of St Rombouts Graveyard, Mechelen. 4th International Congress EUROSOIL, Bari, Italy.
  • Lang, C., Usai, M-R., Wilson, C. A. & Brothwell, D. R. 2011. The Hidden Archaeological Archive of Burial Soils: A case study of South Parish Church, Leith. York Archaeological Postgraduate Group (YAPG), University of York.
  • Lang, C., McLaughlin, D. and Adderley, W. P. 2010.  Brick-making in Borno: Experimental archaeology of processing and resource use. African Archaeology Research Day, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolution, University of Cambridge.      

Media coverage

  • British Society of Soil Science (BSSS), 2013. Member Interview: Members Research (28/03/2013)
  • BBC Radio York 2012. Archaeology on BBC radio York series (06/11/2012) 3.30-4 pm on the Elly Fiorentini show.

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Contact details

Dr Carol Lang
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor