Department of Natural History


The palaeobotanical collections include pollen samples and plant macro fossil samples that give information about prehistoric vegetation. The samples include sediment cores from lakes, peat cores from bogs and fens, and soil samples from archaeological excavations.

J. Berge

Main content

Thousands of sediment/peat/soil samples are stored in the collections and are available for research. The samples contain identifiable plant material such as pollen and macroscopic plant remains (seeds, twigs, leaves, mosses etc.). Through the analysis of such plant remains information about vegetation development in different time periods, and thus also knowledge about prehistoric climate and human activity is acquired. Pollen analysis is today the most important method available for reconstructing vegetation history.

Where does the material come from?
The material is mainly collected by botanists at the University Museum of Bergen during research projects or cultural heritage management projects. Generally, most of the material come from sites in the western part of Norway, but also from other parts of Norway, as well as from outside Norway.

Cultural heritage management
Through archaeological excavations associated with development projects, irreplaceable source material is secured for the future. Soil samples from archaeological contexts such as cultural layers, fossil agricultural layers, settlement layers and post holes from house structures contain pollen and macroscopic plant material that provide information about prehistoric cultivation and cultivation methods, plant use, vegetation, and utilisation of the landscape. Samples from such contexts make up a large part of the accessions of our palaeobotanical collections. The Cultural Heritage management section at UiB, “Fornminneseksjonen”, is a collaborator on these projects.