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Archaeological Soil Micromorphology

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  • Intensive short (5 days - 10 days) course in Archaeological Soil Micromorphology. Training Week: 3-7 November 2014
    Additional days/week for personal practice with reference thin sections and/or your own material (see table below for topics and costs). Previous training courses have been held from 2003-2013. Contact Richard Macphail for further details and see below.
  • The short courses at UCL are based on the experience of these workshops and Richard Macphail’s long practice in teaching internationally (e.g., CNRS [France and Belgium] Microscopy Course, Ghent, July 2001 and 5th European Intensive Course in Soil Micromorphology (Erasmus/Socrates), Naples September 2001)(Courty et al., 1989), and include recently published soil micromorphology methods, protocols and results (Goldberg and Macphail, 2006).

    Richard has had some 30 years post-doctoral experience in archaeological soil micromorphology, and is in the forefront of current research, for example, in caves, urban archaeology, experiments, buried soils and floors (Macphail et al., 2003a; Macphail and Cruise, 2001; Macphail1 et al., 2004; Macphail et al., 2003b1; Macphail and Goldberg, 2003). The most recently published results are found in Goldberg and Macphail (2006 – now available from Blackwells). More detailed publication of the latest soil micromorphology findings and an atlas of archaeological materials are currently underway (Courty et al., 2nd edition, In preparation/2010).
    (1 available as pdf files, see references)

Archaeological Soil Micromorphology Training Course 2014: Programme

0900-1300 Topic Lunch 1400-1700 Topic Notes
Monday 3 November UCL IoA room 412 1. Soil micromorphology and reporting (including use of soil microfabric types (SMTs), counting and production of microfacies types (MFTs).   UCL IoA room 412 2. Basic soil types; differences between soils, sediments and archaeological deposits; effects of burial and site inundation. With Blue Light fluorescence microscope and photomicrography equipment available; microprobe, SEM/EDAX demonstrations.
Tuesday 4 November UCL IoA room 412 3. Hunter-gatherer sediments and caves   UCL IoA room 412 4. Clearance and low impact (e.g., herding) activities as above
Wednesday 5 November UCL IoA room 412 5. Cultivation (low intensity)   UCL IoA room 412 6. Settlement – animal management and manuring as above
Thursday 6 November UCL IoA room 412 7. Structures and occupation surfaces; ditches   UCL IoA room 412 8. ‘Classical’ deposits and Dark Earth as above
Friday 7 November UCL IoA room 412 9. Medieval structures, use of space and industrial traces   UCL IoA room 412 10. Interpretation and consensus/multi-disciplinary reporting; soil micromorphological description, interpretation and reporting – by individuals to the class as above

Course fee: The fee is 60 Euros per day/300 Euros for the week's course. Follow up days/week (10-14 Nov) – personal practice with reference thin sections and/or your own material – 30 Euros per day/150 Euros for the week. Contact Richard Macphail.

Archaeological Soil Micromorphology Working Group

Recent Archaeological Soil Micromorphology Working Group meetings:


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