Within this research theme we explore natural archives to extend the temporal range of different environmental parameters. The objective is to assess the development and extent of human impact on the environment in the perspective of natural variability and change. We use biological, physical or geochemical data obtained from carefully dated natural archives as proxies for past environmental change. Recent methodological advances within palaeoecology and geochemistry now enable quantitative reconstructions of a range of environmental parameters, such as land cover, land use, water quality, aquatic ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. These research activities have well-established links to the Department of Archeology and the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC), particularly through the strategic research areas BECC (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate) and MERGE (ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system).