Radoslaw Grabowski

I am an archaeologist specialised in archaeobotanical analysis of plant materials from settlements. I received my education at Umeå University in Sweden, and carried out most of my research at the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory (Miljöarkeologiska Laboratoriet, MAL).

I co-founded IMASS because of my conviction that advances in archaeological settlement studies depend not only on developing new methods, but also on re-thinking how to make new combinations of existing approaches.

My interest in methodological integration in archaeological settlement studies is a result of my PhD-project (Cereal husbandry and settlement: expanding archaeobotanical perspectives on the Southern Scandinavian Iron Age) where I attempted to answer unresolved archaeobotanical questions, using plant remains from settlement sites as an empirical foundation. One of the main conclusions of the thesis was that archaeobotanical methodology on its own does not have the capacity to answer many of the more complex (and interesting) research questions, but rather needs to be applied together with other archaeological techniques. Qualitative understanding of the settlement contexts from which botanical samples derive is fundamental for their interpretation. At the same time, plant remains on settlements do not only provide information about diet, cultivation, gathering and ecology, but can also be conceptualised as material culture similar to pottery, lithics and other small and ubiquitous artefacts. As such, the distributions of plant remains can provide sound evidence about the use and dynamics of settlement space.

An early attempt at defining problems and solutions for using multiple techniques on settlement sites, performed as a final case study of my PhD-project, was presented in the article Identification and delineation of settlement space functions in the south Scandinavian Iron Age: theoretical perspectives and practical approaches. On the basis of the experiences from this study, I developed my current postdoc project Prehistoric settlement archaeology in North-Western Europe: developing integrated multidisciplinary methods, which is carried out in cooperation with Umeå, Amsterdam and Leiden university and aims to further promote and develop the use of integrated approaches in settlement archaeology.