I’m Dr Emma Karoune

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I work as an archaeobotanist. This is a scientist that examines plant material from archaeological sites to find out about the use of plants and also how landscapes might have been changed by humans. I specialise in macro-botanical remains, which are seeds and other larger plant bits that have often been charred or waterlogged so that they are preserved. But I also specialise in phytoliths, which are silica shapes that form within and between cells of living plants. These become deposited in the soil when the plant dies and can be preserved for thousands of years.

I’m currently working on two archaeobotanical projects:

  1. British phytolith project - This is a project to develop a new innovative method for using phytolith remains on British Archaeological sites. I am working on a reference collection at the moment of Southern British Plant communities including saltmarshes, grazing marshes and shingle/sand dunes. Here’s a blog about my work.

  2. Open Science in Phytolith Research - I’m working to raise awareness of open science to my colleagues in phytolith research, to develop a training workshop to encourage colleagues to use open science more and I’m also forming a working group to work on improving data sharing. The website for my project can be found here.

Part of this work is the FAIR Phytoliths Project in which we are examining existing phytolith data to help us draw up community-reviewed guidelines for FAIR Phytolith data.

I also work at The Alan Turing Institute as a Senior Community Manager.

I am working on two COVID-19 projects at the moment and on The Turing Way. You can find out about the work I do at The Alan Turing Institute here.