Department of Classics and Archaeology

Historical ice core project (Colle Gnifetti)

Project summary

This project is exploring climate change and macro-societal, economic and demographic changes in western Eurasia over the last two millennia, using pollution and climate proxies from an Alpine ice core (from Colle Gnifetti, Switzerland) at ultra-high chronological resolution.

This inter-disciplinary research is led jointly by the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past, Harvard University; and the Climate Change Institute, University of Maine. 

Snow covered mountain peaks lit by morning sunshine.
The Colle Gnifetti ice core drill site (under the dome tent), September 2013 © Dr Nicole Spaulding, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine.



Project details

To date the team has focussed on early medieval to early modern lead pollution as proxies for major economic and social changes, impact of pandemics, and environmental impact on human health.

The next phase of the project is turning to the analysis of the historic climate record from the ice (funded by The Arcadia Fund, London, 2013-present). Chris Loveluck’s work focusses on the medieval archaeology, geoarchaeology and medieval history components of the project.

Project team

Chris Loveluck

Project duration

2013 - ongoing

Funding partners

The Arcadia Fund, London



      All the project publications and data are published as Gold Open Access publications under the Creative Commons Licence.

Selected media coverage


Department of Classics and Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details
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