ACCELERATE is a Marie Skłodowska Curie IF-Project that aims to develop a rapid and affordable technique using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to retrieve climatic information preserved in the elemental composition of marine mollusc shell carbonates and establish standardised ways of applying this technique to coastal shell-midden deposits around the world.

It combines the disciplines of Laser Spectroscopy, Climatology and Archaeology to advance the reconstruction of climate change, exploitation of coastal resources and human-landscape interactions at an unprecedented scale and resolution.

Anthropogenic shell deposits are found in their thousands across the globe over the last 100,000 years. Locked within the shells are climatic records with a high resolution. This crucial information is currently inaccessible due to expensive and laborious techniques, resulting in small, unrepresentative studies and a lack of comparability between them. ACCELERATE resolves this by developing LIBS, which allows rapid chemical analyses, increasing the cost efficiency by a factor of 20 and resulting in large analytical datasets. This will lay the foundation for affordable and comprehensive climate studies world-wide, one of the main Horizon 2020 policy priorities to understand and adapt to climate change.

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy


Archaeological sites, such as shell middens, can contain unique, high-resolution palaeoclimatic and seasonality datasets, spanning thousands of years. They are found in the billions along most of the worlds shorelines and contain archaeological finds of exceptional preservation. The shells themselves are ideal records of local climatic variability and are only waiting to be unlocked.

shell mound

Laser Spectroscopy

Laser Spectroscopy Laser spectroscopy provides insight on the identity and composition of materials. The minimal invasiveness of the method makes it ideal for archaeological material, while the fast repetition of the laser makes the analysis very efficient. Using automated setups and stages that are dedicated for mollusc shell analysis, gives us the best control and flexibility for analysing a wide range of species.

laser spectroscopy

Marie Curie Actions

Marie Skłodowska Curie actions support the mobility of researchers within and beyond Europe. MSCA is solely funding the ACCELERATE Individual Fellowship.

Marie Skłodowska Curie actions

The ACCELERATE Project is collaborating with and is being advised by a fantastic group of people working at the front of coastal archaeology, sclerochronology, and palaeoclimatic research.