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Archaeometry: How to Science the Heck out of Archaeology
ARCP 258
Spring 2018
Section: 01  

What does it mean to have meteoric elements in "Trojan War era" weapons? How should we understand "Barbarian Ware" of supposed invaders when we now identify local clay fabrics? This seminar is an introduction to the various classes of material culture and the scientific methods utilized today to answer such elusive archaeological questions. We will get hands-on experience with chromatography to identify organic commodities such as perfumes and wine, microscopy to characterize ceramic fabrics and technology, and XRF spectrometry to analyze various inorganics such as colored pigments, bronze implements, and lithic monuments. Based on this knowledge, class sessions will present and assess well-known case studies. We will discuss the conservation of material culture in order to better understand and preserve our past. What should a curator do with deteriorating Roman glass? Should a Preclassic Maya vessel with chocolate be cleaned for display? Is an Egyptian ushabti authentic? As a final project, students in close consultation with the instructor will conduct background research on a cultural artifact of their choice and design a program of archaeometric analyses to produce a poster that addresses intriguing archaeological questions of their own.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS ARCP
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on NOV-22-2017
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