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Science News

September 2014

Europe’s stored biodiversity: access and preservation


Thursday 25 September  14.30–16.00 Flett Events Theatre

Join Dr Rob Huxley from the Natural History Museum and other key speakers for an overview of Europe-wide projects aimed to ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of natural history collections.

For more than 10 years, the Natural History Museum has been an active participant and leader in a number of Europe-wide, collections-related projects. These projects have delivered tools, procedures and training to raise standards in collections management and preservation.

This seminar will focus on SYNTHESYS, a series of EU-funded consortium projects providing support for research access to collections. Its partners are members of the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), an umbrella organisation linking more than 30 institutions with a strong commitment to collections standards and access. A CETAF working group, the Collections Policy Board (CPB) has, for example, delivered common principles for collections loans and visitor access, and hosted workshops on digitisation.

CPB and SYNTHESYS have also identified a need for standardised approaches to collections training and staff development. This has been picked up through EuColComp, a two-year Leonardo da Vinci Programme-funded project to develop a set of universal multi-language competencies and a training curriculum for collections staff.


Who should attend

The seminar is open to all museum professionals. We welcome colleagues from other institutions.

There is no booking fee. If you would like to attend please email:

Tea and coffee will be available after the talk.


Natural History Museum staff do not need to book.


What it will include


  • overview of SYNTHESYS, EuColComp
  • presentation of practical case studies
  • discussion of future developments and opportunities

Palaeoenvironmental analysis of a Mesolithic-Neolithic sedimentary sequence from Queens Sedgemoor, Somerset


Dr Tom Hill – NHM


23 Sept - 4.00 pm


Earth Sciences Seminar Room (Basement, WEB 05)


A sediment core extracted from Queen’s Sedgemoor, Somerset Levels, has undergone high resolution radiocarbon dating. Subsequent directed micropalaeontological (palynological, diatom and calcareous microfossil) analyses focussed on the sedimentary sequence associated with the Mesolithic and early Neolithic periods.


This talk summarises the radiocarbon results and associated multiproxy analyses for the sedimentary sequence. Radiocarbon dating has identified a sequence dating back to the Mesolithic period (7.6ky BP). Microfossil evidence indicates hydroseral succession has taken place, with  the initial establishment of a freshwater lake, prior to undergoing terrestrialisation and eventually developing into a raised bog.


Holocene sea-level change also influenced the sedimentary archive. Due to a rise in relative sea level c. 6.7ky BP, subsequent coastal inundation and estuarine sedimentation took place, hereby associated with the Lower Wentlooge Formation of the Somerset Levels. Poor microfossil preservation was encountered within the section associated with the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, but a clear picture of landscape change is presented for the sedimentary archive, with microfossil and microscopic charcoal evidence indicative of landscape modification by humans since the late Mesolithic.


More information on attending seminars at