Dr Carol Lang
Research Associate



As a geoarchaeologist I am interested in soil science, palaeoecology, geomorphological process and human-environmental interactions and resource pressures across agricultural and settlement landscapes. My background in environmental science has allowed me to develop my skills in soil micromorphology and inorganic geochemical analysis while gaining a wide variety of analytical and practical applications.

I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the ERC-funded ‘Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa’ project (AAREA) from 2014-2018. My research, in the larger ERC funded project, has aimed to determine the sustainability of agricultural systems through geoarchaeology and environmental studies. In doing so, the application of archaeological research and its generated data aimed to provide a greater understanding of long term agricultural resilience and the management strategies that can inform future policy decisions on agricultural development leading to increased food security.

Prior to this my PhD research at the University of York (2010-2014) was within the multidisciplinary ERC-funded InterArChive project. The aim of my research was to investigate the effects that archaeological, specifically historical UK and European, human inhumations have on the surrounding soil environment, with soil micromorphology and inorganic chemical analysis being used to analyse soil samples collected specifically identified locations around single and mass burials.   

During the latter stages of my PhD I also worked in the soil thin section laboratory at the University of Stirling as a Soil Thin Section Technician, under the guidance of George Macleod to gain knowledge of different geoarchaeological processing, analyses and reporting procedures. 


Full publications list

Iles, L., Stump, D.,  Heckmann, M., Lang, C., Lane P. J. 2018 Iron production and environmental change in North Pare, Tanzania: geoarchaeological and archaeometallurgical insights. African Archaeology Review (Submitted)

Lang, C. and Stump, D., 2017. Geoarchaeological evidence for the construction, irrigation, cultivation, and resilience of 15 th--18 th century AD terraced landscape at Engaruka, Tanzania. Quaternary Research, 88(3), pp.382-399.

Ferro-Vázquez, C., Lang, C., Kaal, J. and 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, 202, pp.500-513.

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, 42(5), pp.394-407.

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.



My research interests centre 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-environmental relationships and processes across landscapes.


  • 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.
  • The Wildmore Fen Project will assess the use of the landscape and environment in the Witham Valley. Current work is centres on the possible Middle Neolithic feature in Wildmore Fen. This project is funded by CBA-EM and the University of York



Teaching I have been involved in at the University of York includes:

  • Study Skills - tutor (1st Year)
  • Accessing Archaeology - tutor (1st Year)
  • Research Skills - 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



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


Contact details

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