A visit to the pollen laboratory in Stirling

Last Thursday we organised a visit to the laboratory at Stirling where Richard Tipping and Danny Paterson are working on the peat column taken earlier in the year. Some of our volunteers, Maria, Hannah and Ruth came along with myself and Gerry. In fact those of you who follow us on Facebook may already have seen some of Ruth’s photos from the day.

 ImageGerry filming Danny Paterson talking us through the story that the peat core can tell us. You can see the clay and marl deposits laid down soon after the end of the last glacial period towards the base.

The plan was to follow the process, started when we went prospecting and took the sample column, to see how the peat deposits are processed to produce a pollen diagram. Gerry filmed extensively and there will be a video when he has the chance to edit the footage, so I won”t say too much as it was brilliantly covered by Richard and Danny in their interviews. I shall simply say that once all of the processing is done I am glad its Danny that has to count the pollen under the microscope. That said everyone seems to have thoroughly enjoyed learning the process on the day.

ImageThe second part of the peat column shows tell-tale signs of the sampling that has already taken place. Only a small ‘sliver’ is taken to ensure that the pollen identified represents a narrow period of time. Scrupulous cleanliness is essential whilst sampling to ensure that there is no contamination.


Hannah identifying pollen under the microscope with Richard Tipping, even harder than it sounds!

The report should be completed soon, so keep an eye out for further updates.

The Bradford Kaims Wetland Project is Supporte by:



Winter Lecture Part 2: The Bradford Kaims

Kristian Pedersen of Edinburgh University has been working alongside the Bamburgh Research Project on the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project.

In this video he provides local residents with an overview of the site and the work carried out during the 2010 and 2011 dig season.

For further information and updates about the project, click on bradford kaims in the Tag Cloud to the right of the screen.