Palynology is the study of preserved pollen remains in order to understand what the environment of an area may have been like at points in the past. Many plants will only grow in certain conditions dependent on such factors as temperature, soil ph, salinity, moisture or exposure to light. The presence of an assemblage of pollens from plants that prefer a high saline content in their 'soil', may, therefore, indicate the presence of a salt marsh.


A core is often taken through the context in which the pollen is preserved. As it is presumed that the pollen in the sequence gets older the deeper it is, it may be possible to analyse the sequence for changes in climate and environment over time. Pollen analysis was undertaken at the Sanderson factory site in Denham and the results showed that it may be possible to reconstruct the environment of that part of the Colne valley in the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. Pollen analysis during excavation of the Bronze Age burnt mounds in Little Marlow provided evidence of the environmental conditions at the time the burnt mounds were in use.