Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


19 December 2015

Introduction to Ceramic Petrology Course 2016

British School at Athens

Introduction to Ceramic Petrology Course 2016

From May  30th to  June 10th, the Fitch Laboratory will hold a two-week postgraduate training course providing an introduction to ceramic petrology, building upon the Laboratory’s established reputation on ceramic petrology applications and its extensive reference collections of geological and ceramic thin sections.

The course is open mainly to people with no (or limited) previous experience on petrology although familiarity with archaeological ceramics will be useful. It is an excellent introduction for students already on a research degree in archaeological materials, as well as for postdoctoral researchers and academics interested in being familiar with ceramic petrology applications. Although the focus is primarily with ceramic materials, the skills learnt are applicable to the study of lithics, building materials, pigments and soils.

The course comprises daily lectures and practicals introducing to optical polarizing light microscopy, the identification of main rock-forming minerals, the classification of rock types, the use and interpretation of geological maps and, subsequently, the analysis of ceramic thin sections to reconstruct provenance and technology. The participants are also introduced to the principles of chemical analysis of ceramics (with a critical review of the most commonly used techniques involving both desktop and portable equipment) and the combined use of chemical and petrographic data. Moreover a demonstration is held on the preparation of thin sections as well as of samples for chemical analysis. Furthermore, a field class to Aegina, including a visit to a traditional pottery workshop, provides practical experience on prospection for pottery raw materials and sampling, as well as contemporary potting practices. Towards the end, each participant has the opportunity to undertake a case study project. In total, the course includes 20 hours of lectures, 28 hours of laboratory practicals, 11 additional contact hours for project accomplishment, plus a day-fieldtrip.

A course manual and a fieldtrip guide are provided for participants covering all aspects of the course and further reading, and a certificate of attendance is issued for each participant upon course completion. The course co-coordinators and instructors are Dr Evangelia Kiriatzi (Director, Fitch Laboratory) and Dr Ruth Siddall (Senior Lecturer, Earth Science/Dean of Students, UCL) with contributions by Dr Noemi Müller (Scientific Research Officer, Fitch Laboratory), Dr John Gait (Williams Fellow in Ceramic Petrology, Fitch Laboratory) and Mr Michalis Sakalis (Technician, Fitch Laboratory).



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