Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teaching Archaeometry to Retirees

As a departure from teaching for the University of Illinois' Campus Honors Program, I am offering an 8-week class at our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute beginning next week. It's called "Artifact, Relic, or Hoax: Cases Studies in Archaeological Science"and currently has almost 50 students registered from diverse academic and non-academic backgrounds.

The class will feature many of the topics I have used in my undergraduate course, ANTH 221 "Materials and Civilization: An Overview of Archaeometry" including the Shroud of Turin, The Getty Kouros, fakes and forgeries, experimental archaeology coupled with materials analyses, and mummy studies. We will also explore the applications of specific techniques such as X-ray diffraction, radiocarbon dating, neutron activation analysis, PIMA spectroscopy, and SEM/EDS to sourcing North American stone, recreating midwestern cooking pots, and identifying likely forgeries such as the Ellington stone from western Illinois.

Since folks are taking this for fun, no exams or papers are required--or even readings--but I will encourage everyone to explore web links, including this blog. To check out my links, go here.

Sarah Wisseman, Director, Program on Ancient Technologies and Archaeological Materials

1 comment:

  1. Adult learners must be a nice change of pace. Sounds like very interesting material - I'd enjoy that course. A few years ago I took my undergraduate archaeometry students to see an exhibit on detecting forgeries at the Winterthur Museum, and it nicely complemented other uses for the same techniques we had covered. But too bad we can't perform fake detection on politicians and financial advisers.