Archaeological and Paleoenvironmental Chemistry

This research group develops and applies analytical solutions and instrument design, principally centred on separations science and mass spectrometry and their application in archaeological, biomolecular and environmental research. Large, interdisciplinary collaborations are central to the research and the complex datasets involved often require development of mathematical modelling and statistical methods for full interpretation. Research focuses on the analysis of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids: how these molecules can inform us of an organism’s life, death history and environment, and the degradation of organic archaeological materials in the burial environment. The state of the art facilities include the Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry (CoEMS) and the NERC-recognised lab for amino acid analysis (NEaar).

There is significant collaboration in this multidisciplinary research area with members of the Department of Biology, Department of Environment and Department of Archaeology. You can find more information about our work at BioArCh and SicTRANSIT.


  • Caroline Dessent - Physical chemistry of gas-phase biological ions; Gas-phase inorganic chemistry; Mass spectrometry
  • Brendan Keely - Mass spectrometry; Environmental organic chemistry; Geochemistry
  • Kirsty Penkman - Analytical and environmental geochemistry; Biomolecular archaeology
  • Jane Thomas-Oates - Analytical science; Biological mass spectrometry