The prehistory department’s pollen repository is home to a research collection of pollen samples of modern-day vegetation from the European continent and the Mediterranean basin.
The pollen repository is housed in the microscope room of MNHN prehistory department’s palynology lab (UMR 7194 CNRS). It contains roughly 3000 samples of modern-day pollen, and is composed of a historic collection gathered mainly from 1965 to 1980 by Mme J. Renault-Miskovsky (DR emiratus, CNRS). Since 2006, 400 new samples have been added, completing the reference collection and enabling the renewal of older preparations that have changed with time. Pollen slides are prepared from the stamens of live plants sampled from parks, gardens and natural environments by lab members on dedicated collecting trips. Since each species of plant produces pollen that is morphologically specific, each sample from the pollen repository is associated with a botanical species. The older collection is classified according to plant taxonomy (alphabetical order by family, followed by genus and species).
The pollen preparations, mounted on microscope slides, form a reference collection that is used daily by the laboratory’s researchers and students for comparison with fossil materials studied from an archaeological or geological perspective, as well as to validate diagnoses. The collection is currently being digitalized and the photo library will constitute a rich palynological resource, notably for educational purposes and training.