The primary objectives of SEAD are to make environmental archaeology data available to the international research community, and to provide online tools to assist in the analysis of these data.

The SEAD project has created a web-accessible, GIS-ready database for environmental archaeology data. The system allows researchers to study data on the interactions of past environments, climates and human impact, as well as study the implications of these for the present and future research agendas including cultural heritage, species and landscape conservation. Empirical data from a large number of archaeological and Quaternary geological sites is now accessible online and provides the basis for a wide range of interdisciplinary studies, with more data being added continuously.

Through the use of innovative IT solutions, the system combines the benefits of large datasets, easy access and powerful visualisations of scientific data. SEAD forms part of a comprehensive international initiative towards the construction of scientific research infrastructures and the project links with similar systems being developed elsewhere in Europe and the USA. The project is being undertaken as collaboration between the Environmental Archaeology Lab and HUMlab, an international meeting place for the Humanities and IT at Umeå University.

The Environmental Archaeology Lab in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies at Umeå University, has operated since 1994 as Sweden’s only national resource lab for environmental archaeology. The lab has extensive experience of research and contract archaeology from both Sweden and internationally and has accumulated a large amount of data which needs wider access, and is involved in the advancement of scientific methods in archaeology.

Database purpose

SEAD provides the wider scientific community with easy access to data on prehistoric changes in environment, climate and human impact, and a number of tools with which to analyse and compare these data with respect to external datasets. This was initially facilitated by making the Environmental Archaeology Lab and BugsCEP datasets available online, and has most recently been expanded upon with additional datasets via the VISEAD project. In cooperation with the Archaeological Research Laboratory at Stockholm University, and the Ceramical Research and Dendrochonological Laboratories at Lund University, additional datasets based on new analytical methods are being made available via SEAD.

Projected user base

Researchers and students: of archaeology, environmental archaeology, Quaternary geology, palaeoecology, geography, geology, ecology and any interdisciplinary science where information on past climate, environment, biodiversity and human history are important.

Professionals at state and private bodies or companies concerned with: biodiversity analysis, planning application assessment, environmental/biological surveys.

Advanced amateurs in the fields above.

Anyone that finds the data or methods interesting or useful!