Palaeobotany and palynology


Environmental and Regional Studies (3rd level)

Paleobiology and sedimentary geology (3rd Cycle)

Course code: DIP05
Year of study: without

Course principal:
Assist. Prof. Maja Andrič, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 30 hours, seminar 10 hours, tutorial 20 hours, individual work 120 hours
Course type: modul elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, e-learning, seminars, fieldwork and laboratory work


Course syllabus (download)


Inscription to the 1st academic year.


Content (Syllabus outline):

Palynology & palaeo/archaeo botany

  • Research methods: taphonomy, selection of study sites and sampling, laboratory treatment of samples, identification of pollen and plant macrofossils, chronology (dating and age-depth modelling, dendrochronology), multidisciplinary research
  • Palaeoecology: long-term changes of the environment and ecological processes, the impact of climate, ecological factors and people on the vegetation
  • Quaternary vegetation: the composition and development of forests, fire regimes and human impact on the vegetation and landscape openness in various archaeological and geological time periods, migrations of Quaternary tree taxa
  • Palaeoeconomy: food and economy in archaeological time periods
  • Palaeoclimatology: Quaternary climate, comparison of ice, marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental archives, the influence of climatic fluctuations on the vegetation
  • Palaeolimnology: sedimentological processes, palaeohydrological conditions
  • Nature protection: knowledge about long-term environmental changes can help us to better plan nature protection/restoration measures



Osnovna literatura/Basic literature:

  • Moore P. D., Webb J. A. & Collinson M. E. 1991. Pollen Analysis. Blackwell Science, Oxford.
  • Pearsall D. M. 2000. Paleoethnobotany (A Handbook of Procedures). Academic Press, London.
  • Smol J. P., Birks H. J., Last W. M. (eds.) 2012. Tracking Environmental Changes Using Lake Sediments. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
  • Andrič M., Tolar T. & Toškan B. 2016. Okoljska arheologija in paleoekologija: palinologija, arheobotanika in arheozoologija. Založba ZRC in Inštitut za arheologijo ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana.


Identifikacijski ključi / ID keys:

  • Moore et al. 1991. (glej zgoraj /see above)
  • Reille M. 1992. Pollen et spores d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord, Laboratoire du Botanique Historique et palynologie, Marseille
  • Beug H.-J- 2004. Leitfaden der Pollenbestimmung, Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, München.
  • Cappers R. T. J., Neef R. & Bekker R. M. (ed.) 2009. Digital Atlas of Economic Plants (3 vol.). Groningen Archaeological Studies 9, Groningen, Barkhuis & Groningen University Library.
  • Neef R., Cappers R. T. J. & Bekker R. M. (ed.) 2012. Digital Atlas of Economic Plants in Archaeology. Groningen, Barkhuis and Groningen University Library.
  • Schweingruber F. H. (ed.) 1978/1990. Mikroskopische Holzanatomie. Birmensdorf, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research.
  • Članki v revijah/papers in: The Holocene, Quaternary Science Reviews, Quaternary Research, Journal of Quaternary Science, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, Journal of Archaeological Science


Znanstvena metoda:

  • Booth W. C., Colomb G. G. & Wiliams J. M. 1995. The Craft of Research. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.


Objectives and competences:

Students will acquire basic knowledge about the Quaternary environment (especially vegetation) in Europe/Slovenia, human impact on the environment and economy in various archaeological time periods, and the main research methods in this field of research.


This course will be largely based on supervised research. The selection of topics will be adapted individually according to student’s research interests. Students with palynology or archaeobotany as the main topic of their research will qualify to independently carry out palynological or archaeobotanical research.


Intended learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding:

  • For students, where the main topic of their research is not palynology / palaeo(archaeo)botany:

Students will be able to understand the main environmental processes and causes for changes of past and current environment. This knowledge will enable them to critically read, analyse and interpret the literature and be aware of possibilities and limitations of selected research methods and theories, as well as to communicate with the experts from other fields of research, and to take part in interdisciplinary basic and applied research projects.


  • For students with palynology / palaeo(archaeo)botany as the main topic of their research:

In addition to knowledge/understanding stated above, the student is able to independently carry out palynological /palaeo(archaeo)botanical research, including selection of study site, fieldwork, laboratory treatment of samples, identification of pollen grains/plant macrofossils, analysis and interpretation of the data and publication of the results.



Assessment will be adapted individually according to student’s research interests.

Written or oral exam (50 %), written essay /paper (50 %).