West Midlands Regional Research Framework for Archaeology, Seminar 1: Greig 1 Priorities in Neolithic and Bronze Age Environmental Archaeology in the West Midlands Region James Greig The Institute of Archaeology & Antiquity, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT [email protected] [This is a collection of thoughts of specialists including Umberto Albarella, James Greig, David Jordan, Lisa Moffett and Liz Pearson] Research priorities 1. To collect and analyse evidence - wherever available - of crops, domestic animals, and the use of wild resources from Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements, from charred plant remains, waterlogged plant remains, beetles, pollen and animal bones. 2. To focus effort on the following areas of research: (i). landscape change; (ii). elm decline; (iii). browsing under Mesolithic/Neolithic woodland; (iv). woodland clearance and (v). the introductions of crops and weeds. This research should be based on studies of natural deposits, using pollen analysis, plant macrofossils, beetle remains and sediment studies. 3. To undertake intensive investigations of archaeological sites and natural environmental deposits in known concentrations of prehistoric activity, as around Whitemoor Haye in the Trent valley, to build up well-dated and detailed sequences of results from such areas. Sediment studies into fluctuating water tables may be especially important in some areas to separate depositional from post-depositional events. 4. To study all bone and mollusc remains, giving special attention to the few areas of alkaline soils in the West Midlands counties where they tend to be preserved, such as the Vale of Evesham and on the Wenlock limestone. 5. To give encouragement to the amateurs in the field who are doing what professionals cannot afford to.