Materials Analysis

Materials Analysis in Archaeology aims to characterise the materials used by past people, using approaches adapted from the natural sciences. The range of materials includes natural (stone, bone, wood, leather, textiles, plant and animal remains, and soils) and artificial (ceramics, metals, pigments, glass) substances. We use primarily imaging (optical and scanning electron microscopy) and chemical methods (portable and stationary X-ray fluorescence analysis and energy-dispersive spectrometry combined with SEM) (using the in-house Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories). This data is then used to reconstruct human interaction with the environment and environmental conditions, as well as production and manufacturing technologies, trade contacts, and movement of ideas and materials across time and space.  The Institute for Archaeo-Metallurgical Studies (IAMS), an international body whose purpose is to initiate and promote research into the origins and developments of mining and metallurgy and its culture-historical significance, is affiliated to the Institute of Archaeology.

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