The archaeosciences laboratory (LARC) is a research unit within the DGPC (the Portuguese government organization responsible for archaeology and listed monuments). Activities undertaken by this laboratory include various complementary disciplines. Its principal objective is to improve our understanding of the way of life of our ancestors – their economy, social organization, culture and biology, as well as their relation and interaction with the environment. We try to identify and understand changes that have occurred in the course of time during and since the last Ice Age until modern times. The various specialisms covered by LARC include the study of stone tools (lithic technology), sediments (geoarchaeology), plant remains and pollen (palaeobotany), animal bones (zooarchaeology) and human remains (human bioarchaeology) recovered from archaeological excavations. Subjects that interest LARC staff include the exploitation, management and improvement of animal, plant and geological resources, the role of nature in the daily life of early man and the cultural and adaptive response to environmental challenges.
Besides undertaking our own projects and collaborating with teams within and outside Portugal, LARC offers advice and provides technical support to Portuguese archaeologists via Prestação de Serviços andthe annual program Concurso Arqueociências, which isdecided annually by competition.
LARC has much of the necessary technical equipment and documentary sources to undertake archaeoscientific investigations as well as important reference collections. These include a vertebrate skeleton collection (the Osteoteca) and pollen, seed and wood collections (the Palinoteca, Carpoteca and Xiloteca). They now form part of the national network of natural history collections - the Consórcio Nacional para a Valorização e Uso Científico das Colecções de História Natural – otherwise known as ‘NatCol’ that includes the Universities of Coimbra, Lisbon and Oporto, as well as the Tropical Research Institute in Lisbon, the municipality of Funchal in Madeira and the Lisbon Technical University.
LARC’s activities include a wide range of topics that include experiments, teaching and helping to train the next generation of archaeological scientists as well as helping museums set up exhibitions (see box).
LARC now has a wide range of collaborators both in Portugal and beyond in various archaeoscientific research projects. This laboratory also hosts students from all levels – primary school to doctoral students.
LARC has recently become an associate laboratory within CIBIO (Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos) – the fruit of an agreement with that organisation and which has given rise to the formation of an EnvArch – Environmental Archaeology.
Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e Florestas – Áreas Protegidas
Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa
Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Museu Nacional de História Natural e Ciência de Lisboa
Parque Florestal de Monsanto
Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves
Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (France)
Institut Jacques-Monod, Paris (France)
Musée des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique (Belgium)
Consejo Superior de Investigación Científica (Spain)
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid – Laboratorio de Arqueozoología (Spain)
Universidad de Cantábria – Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas de Cantábria (Spain)
Universitat de Tarragona - Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (Spain)
Universidad de Salamanca - Dpto. de Prehistoria, Historia Antigua y Arqueología (Spain)
Universidade de Valladolid (Spain)
University of Volos (Greece)
Department of Antiquities (Cyprus)
English Heritage Centre for Archaeology (England)
University of Sheffield (England)
Haifa University (Israel)
University of Tel Aviv (Israel)
Ana Costa (Geoarchaeology)
Ana Cristina Araújo (Lithic Technology)
Carlos Pimenta (Zooarchaeology)
David Gonçalves (Anthropology)
Patrícia Mendes (Palaeobotany)
Randi Danielsen (Palaeobotany)
Simon Davis (Zooarchaeology)
Sónia Gabriel (Zooarchaeology)
Address and contacts
Laboratório de Arqueociências
Rua da Bica do Marquês (à Ajuda), Nº 2, 1300-087, Lisboa
Telephones: 213627356; 213625369; 213626328
Due to space restrictions we ask persons wishing to consult the reference collections to send an e-mail to arqueociências@dgpc.pt mentioning which taxonomic groups are required. See also, to know the LARC’s regulations, Regulamento do Laboratório de Arqueociências.