Monday, November 29, 2010

German book on archaeometry

Archäometrie: Methoden und Anwendungsbeispiele naturwissenschaftlicher Verfahren in der Archäologie
[Archeometry: physical and chemical methods for solving archeological problems. Examples and methods]
Editors: Andreas Hauptmann; Volker Pingel
2008. 264 pages, 138 figures, 7 tables, 16 plates
Language: Geman
ISBN 978-3-510-65232-7, price: 49.80 € 

I'm too lazy to translate the following, so try your German:

Die moderne Archäologie hat sich in ihrem methodischen Ansatz rasant weiterentwickelt und bedient sich heute in zunehmendem Maße naturwissenschaftlicher Methoden, um kulturhistorische Fragestellungen und Probleme zu lösen. Es gibt heute kaum noch archäologische Grabungen, an denen keine Naturwissenschaftler anderer Disziplinen mitarbeiten. 

In 13 Beiträgen beschreiben Fachleute der verschiedensten naturwissenschaftlichen Fachrichtungen, auf welche Weise Methoden und Konzepte (z.B. der Anthropologie, Biologie, Chemie, der Geowissenschaften und der Physik) Beiträge zur Beantwortung archäologischer und historischer Fragen leisten können. Es werden Verfahren zur Untersuchung archäologischer Funde organischer und anorganischer Zusammensetzung vorgestellt. Antiken Landschaftsveränderungen durch den Menschen wird z.B. mit Methoden der Geoarchäologie nachgespürt.

Mehrere Beiträge befassen sich mit der Bedeutung und Anwendung radiometrischer Datierungsverfahren in der Altertumsforschung. Auch Prospektionsmethoden, die in der Archäologie besondere Bedeutung erlangt haben, werden besprochen. Anwendungsbeispiele, u.a. aus der Luftbildarchäologie und der Geophysik illustrieren den praktischen Einsatz der vorgestellten Methoden.

Dieses Buch soll Forschern und Studierenden sowie allen an der archäologischen Forschung Interessierten die notwendigen Grundlagen der Archäometrie nahe bringen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New book on archaeological chemistry

An Introduction to Archaeological Chemistry

Price, T. Douglas, Burton, James H. (both former SAS presidents!)
1st Edition., 2011, XXXII, 311 p. 47 illus., 27 in color., Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4419-6375-8

From the Springer web site:

"Archaeological chemistry is a subject of great importance to the study and methodology of archaeology. This comprehensive text covers the subject with a full range of case studies, materials, and research methods. With twenty years of experience teaching the subject, the authors offer straightforward coverage of archaeological chemistry, a subject that can be intimidating for many archaeologists who do not already have a background in the hard sciences. With clear explanations and informative illustrations, the authors have created a highly approachable text, which will help readers overcome that intimidation. Topics covered included: Materials (rock, pottery, bone, charcoal, soils, metals, and others), Instruments (microscopes, NAA, spectrometers, mass spectrometers, GC/MS, XRF & XRD, Case Studies (Provinience, Sediments, Diet Reconstruction, Past Human Movement, Organic Residues). The detailed coverage and clear language will make this useful as an introduction to the study of archaeological chemistry, as well as a useful resource for years after that introduction."

Nice work, colleagues.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Geoarchaeological Research in Egypt and the Nile Valley

There is a new Virtual Special Issue on the Geoarchaeology web pages entitled: Geoarchaeological Research in Egypt and the Nile Valley. All the papers are available as free downloads so it should be a valuable resource for both teaching and research. 

From the web page:
The Nile Valley and desert landscapes of Egypt and Sudan have been key areas of geoarchaeological research for many decades. Geoscientists have worked alongside archaeologists in a wide range of contexts including Palaeolithic sites in desert oases and the magnificent urban centres of Pharaonic Egypt. This interaction has yielded a very rich body of work and has led to the development of new geoarchaeological methods and important theoretical advances. Since its launch in 1986, this journal has regularly published papers on geoarchaeological research in Egypt and the Nile Valley. The 17 papers presented here (and available below as free downloads) were published in Geoarchaeology between 1988 and 2008. They exemplify a range of approaches, settings and timescales whilst highlighting the value of interdisciplinary research in the study of the human past. This special issue includes classic work by some of the most influential archaeologists and geoarchaeologists to have worked in the region. While there is some overlap in approach and themes, the papers are grouped under the following headings:

1. Palaeoclimates, human settlement, and geochronology
2. Contexts, site formation and the analysis of cultural materials
3. Long-term river channel and flood dynamics

This collection was launched to coincide with a major international symposium on Landscape Archaeology, Egypt and the Mediterranean World held in Cairo from September 19th to 21st 2010 under the auspices of the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO). It will be of particular interest to all who are concerned with long-term human-environment interactions in the Nile Valley and the desert landscapes of the Eastern Sahara.
Jamie Woodward
Professor of Physical Geography
The University of Manchester

Archaeological photogrammetry group

The Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society is the United Kingdom’s leading society for remote sensing and photogrammetry and their application to education, science, research, industry, commerce and the public service. As a charity, its remit is to inform and educate its members and the public. It supports networking between the university, business and government sectors. An international society, RSPSoc is also active in Europe and on the world stage.

It includes the Archaeology SIG (special interest group), which aims to encourage the exchange of research and methodology between remote sensing scientists and archaeologists, especially those concerned with methods of site prospection and novel applications. Meetings concentrate on a mixture of case studies and developing methodology and include ground-based methods, photogrammetry, LIDAR, laser scanning, and geophysical prospection, as well as aerial photography and thermal imaging.

You can download the SIG publications and special reports.

Award for best Archaeometry dissertations

Groupe des Méthodes Pluridisciplinaires Contribuant à l´Archéologie (GMPCA)  
Best Archaeometry Ph.D. Award
2011 G.M.P.C.A. PhD Award - Call for Applications

The Groupe des Méthodes Pluridisciplinaires Contribuant à l´Archéologie (GMPCA) awards two prizes of EUR1000 maximum (*) every two years to the best PhD theses written in French or in English relating to original work in archaeometry, in any of the different scientific fields contributing to archaeology. These prizes (*) are usually given to the winner(s) at the time of the GMPCA´s biennial conference. The Archéométrie 2011 meeting will take place in Liège (Belgium) from 11 to 15 April 2011, organized by the Centre Européen d´Archéométrie of Liège University.

This prize is open to all researchers under 40 years of age who do not hold a full time academic position or a permanent contract. The applicants for the GMPCA prize must have written and defended a thesis in French or in English in a university within the European Union and have been awarded a doctorate between January 1st 2009 and December 31th 2010. Candidates cannot apply twice. The candidate´s file must be comprised of :

1. a printed copy of the thesis,
2. a 3-page (max.) précis of the PhD project´s methodology, results and future implications and applications
3. an appendix indicating the title of the PhD, the date and the university, and the composition of the jury,
4. postal and electronic addresses,
5. abstract and/or full text consultation web addresses, if available.

The prize winner(s) is (are) committed to submitting an article within an reasonable delay to the journal ArcheoSciences.

We expressly invite candidates to declare themselves by email with available documents enclosed. Definitive applications must be sent by post to the secretary of the association, or to one of the members of the board.

Applications must be received no later than January 8th 2011.

S. Dubernet
GMPCA Secretary

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The NSF recently announced awards for a new program: Chemistry and Materials Research at the Interface between Science and Art or SCIART.

This program is co-sponsored with the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to “to enhance opportunities for collaborative activities between conservation scientists and chemists and materials scientists to address grand challenges in the field of science of cultural heritage.”

The original call for proposals focused on four areas:

a) develop new and improved analytical techniques and instruments with high sensitivity and spatial resolution (large and small scale) for restricted volume and/or standoff detection of component materials, degradation products and deterioration markers and which are suitable for non-destructive analysis of cultural heritage objects; b) study dynamic changes leading to degradation of cultural heritage objects; c) design new multi-functional treatment materials for cultural heritage objects; d) develop new theoretical models to predict dynamic processes in cultural heritage objects that lead to their degradation while taking into account their molecular and materials properties and their surface and bulk interactions with environmental perimeters.

While many of these topics may focus on conservation, several of these directions will also aid in many regions of archaeological science, specifically in chemical analysis and materials science. I am particularly interested to see the results of new instrumentation and understanding dynamic changes in materials. The complete list of the awards is listed here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New book from Oxford University Press

Scientific Methods and Cultural Heritage
An introduction to the application of materials science to archaeometry and conservation science

From the web site, where more details are also available:


Scientific techniques developed in materials science offer invaluable information to archaeology, art history, and conservation. A rapidly growing number of innovative methods, as well as many established techniques, are constantly being improved and optimized for the analysis of cultural heritage materials. The result is that on the one hand more complex problems and questions can be confronted, but on the other hand the required level of technical competence is widening the existing cultural gap between scientists and end users, such as archaeologists, museum curators, art historians, and many managers of cultural heritage who have a purely humanistic background.

The book is intended as an entry-level introduction to the methods and rationales of scientific investigation of cultural heritage materials, with emphasis placed on the analytical strategies, modes of operation, and resulting information rather than on technicalities. The extensive and updated reference list should be a useful starting point for further reading. Students and researchers from the humanities approaching scientific investigations should find it useful, as well as scientists applying familiar techniques and methods to unfamiliar problems related to cultural heritage.


  • Comprehensive approach to cultural heritage problems, bridging sciences and humanities
  • Pedagogical, cross-disciplinary presentation, merging different strands of background information
  • Easy to follow, suitable for undergraduate and graduate level teaching
  • Emphasizes analytical strategies and resulting information rather than technicalties
  • Richly illustrated
  • Extensive and up-to-date reference list

Product Details

368 pages; 200 b/w line and halftone figures, 8pp color plates; 9.7 x 7.4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-954826-2ISBN10: 0-19-954826-9