Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database (SEAD)

  • Philip I. BucklandEmail author
  • Mattias Sjölander
  • Erik J. Eriksson
Living reference work entry


Environmental archaeology encompasses a wide range of scientific methods for analyzing the results of past human activities, environments, climates, and perhaps, most importantly, the relationships between these. Many of these methods are referred to as proxy analyses, denoting the illumination of the past as interpreted indirectly through the evidence of fossil organisms or properties. These lines of evidence, or proxy data sources, are assumed to reflect past conditions by way of their dependence on them. For example, a species of beetle may only survive within a specific climate range, and thus its presence in samples indicates this climate at the time of deposition; organic waste deposited around a farmstead will raise soil phosphate levels above those of the surrounding land; and the presence of cereal grains in postholes suggests their local cultivation or import, usage, or storage. While it is easier to store, manage, and analyze the data produced by these methods...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. ADS. 2017. Archaeological data service. Available at
  2. Artdatabanken. 2017. The Swedish Species Information Centre. Available at
  3. BRC. 2017. Biological Records Centre. Available at
  4. Brewer, S., S.T. Jackson, and J.W. Williams. 2012. Paleoecoinformatics: Applying geohistorical data to ecological questions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 27 (2): 104–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buckland, P.I. 2013. SEAD – The strategic environmental archaeology database. Inter-linking multiproxy environmental data with archaeological investigations and ecology. In CAA2012, Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA), Southampton, England, 320–331. Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  6. Buckland, P.I. 2017. Lessons from extinctions. In Wood wise, beguiling beetles. Woodland Conservation News, Summer 2017, ed. K. Haw and K. Hornigold, 22–27. Woodland Trust.
  7. Buckland, P.I., and P.C. Buckland. 2006. BugsCEP coleopteran ecology package, IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series # 2006-116. Boulder: NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program. Available at and Accessed 24 Aug 2017.Google Scholar
  8. Buckland, P.I., E.J. Eriksson, J. Linderholm, K. Viklund, R. Engelmark, F. Palm, P. Svensson, P.C. Buckland, E. Panagiotakopulu, and J. Olofsson. 2010. Integrating human dimensions of arctic palaeoenvironmental science: SEAD – the strategic environmental archaeology database. Journal of Archaeological Science 38 (2): 345–351. Scholar
  9. Europeana. n.d. Available at
  10. FMIS. 2017. The Swedish National Heritage Board online sites and monuments record. Available at
  11. GBIF. 2017. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Available at Accessed 24 Aug 2017.
  12. Goring, S., A. Dawson, G. Simpson, K. Ram, R. Graham, E. Grimm, and J. Williams. 2015. Neotoma: A programmatic interface to the neotoma paleoecological database. Open Quaternary 1 (1).Google Scholar
  13. NEOTOMA. 2009. The neotoma multiproxy palaeoecology database. Available at Accessed 14 August 2018.
  14. Panagiotakopulu, E., and P.C. Buckland. 2017. A thousand bites–Insect introductions and late Holocene environments. Quaternary Science Reviews 156: 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. SEAD. n.d. The strategic environmental archaeology database. Available at Accessed 24 Aug 2017.
  16. SND. 2017. The Swedish National Data Service, SEAD project entry: Accessed 28 Aug 2017.
  17. Strawhacker, C., P.I. Buckland, G. Palsson, A. Fridrikkson, E. Lethbridge, A. Brin, R. Opitz, and T. Dawson. 2015. Building cyberinfrastructure from the ground up for the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization: Introducing the cyberNABO Project. In 2015 Digital Heritage International Congress, vol 2: Analysis & Interpretation Theory, Methodologies, Preservation & Standards Digital Heritage Projects & Applications, 2: 457–460.
  18. tDAR. 2017. The digital archaeological record. Available at

Further Reading

  1. Buckland, P.I. 2010a. SEAD – The Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database. An international research cyber-infrastructure for studying past changes in climate, environment and human activities. Journal of Northern Studies 1 (2010): 113–126.Google Scholar
  2. Buckland, P.I. 2010b. Environmental archaeology, climate change and e-science. Skytteanska Samfundets årsbok 2010, Thule, 55–69.Google Scholar
  3. Buckland, P.I. 2011. Freeing information to the people. International Innovation, EuroFocus 4: 51–53. Nordic Spotlight.Google Scholar
  4. Buckland, P.I., E.J. Eriksson, and F. Palm. 2014. SEAD – The strategic environmental archaeology database: Progress report spring 2014. Miljöarkeologiska Laboratoriets Rapporter 2014–013.
  5. SEAD related publications will be made available at

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip I. Buckland
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mattias Sjölander
    • 1
  • Erik J. Eriksson
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Archaeology Lab., Department of Historical, Philosophical & Religious StudiesUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.ICT Services and System Development (ITS)Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

Section editors and affiliations

  • Manuel Arroyo-Kalin
    • 1
  • Dorian Q. Fuller
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK