Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ultrasensitive Radiocarbon Technique

A recent issue of Nature reported on a new analytical method that has ultrasensitive capabilities for the detection of C-14. Instead of using accelerator mass spectrometry techniques, the researchers use a novel optical approach called saturated-absorption cavity ring-down spectroscopy. The technique takes advantage of IR spectroscopy to analyze the gas down to a detection limit of 43 parts per quadrillon. In addition, the instrumentation is significantly smaller than a mass spectrometer, and non-destructive to the sample. More details can be found in the article here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

R.E. Taylor Student Poster Award Competition at SAA 2012

Call for Applications - 2012 R.E. Taylor Student Poster Competition at the SAA, Memphis

As a result of a collaborative effort with the Society for American Archaeology, SAS will acknowledge an outstanding student poster for its innovative contribution in the use of scientific technologies to archaeological research by granting the R. E. Taylor Award, consisting of 100 US dollars and a one-year subscription to the SAS Bulletin. Financial support for the Taylor Award derives from the membership royalties of those who have joined us in our quest of making of archaeological sciences relevant to the study of humankind by using the tools of tomorrow.

This prestigious award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, for his leading role as President (1980) and General Secretary (1981-2002) and his committed service as editor of the SAS Bulletin. In 2004, the SAA recognized his invaluable contributions with the granting of the 2004 Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research.

For more than a decade, receiving the Taylor R. E. award has enhanced the career of those who are now prominent young scholars and professionals. For 2012, SAS will offer the R. E. Taylor Award at the SAA 77th Annual Meeting in Memphis. TN. Entries will be judged on the significance of the archaeological problem, appropriateness of the methods used, soundness of conclusions, quality of the poster display, and oral presentation of the poster by the student, who should be the first author in order to compete.

Students must submit an application via email to Destiny Crider ( by March 21, 2012 to be considered for this award. Applications in form of an email message must include the title and abstract of the poster, proof that you have registered for the SAA meetings in Memphis (email from the SAA), and proof of your status as an undergraduate or graduate student (usually appears on your SAA registration). 

An email confirmation that your application has been received will be sent to you. Please keep this email confirmation. Students will also submit a .pdf version of their poster on or before April 6, 2012. This will give the judges adequate time to evaluate your posters. Judges will be present in person at the SAA meetings to judge posters and to ask students questions about their research. Prizes will be awarded at the SAA meetings following the end of the last poster session (final program is pending).

Good luck to everyone!

Deadline for submissions: March 21 to apply;  April 6th submit poster as a pdf.

To enter contact Destiny Crider (

See past recipients of the R.E. Taylor Student Poster Competition


Monday, February 13, 2012

Survey on archaeological conservation - deadline Feb. 19

If you direct an archaeological field project, please assist us by taking this brief survey. The survey is designed to gather information about archaeologists’ engagement with conservation and identify areas in which the conservation community can improve. We would appreciate your participation whether or not you have used the services of a professional conservator, and we hope to have responses from a broad range of archaeologists working on different types of sites, both terrestrial and underwater.

· The survey is primarily multiple-choice and takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. Your response will be anonymous unless you choose to provide contact information. If you do give us your name, your contact information and survey responses will be kept confidential and only discussed without attribution.

· The survey results will be shared with both the archaeological and conservation communities.

· The survey will be active for three weeks, until the 19th February 2012. If you know other directors who are good candidates for this survey, please forward the link.

Survey link:

Thank you for your time,

Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
University of Michigan
434 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109