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Laboratory work (Artefact Studies)


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Admission to the MSc-programme Artefact Studies.


The course will offer 3 different specialisations:
1) ceramic petrography (Braekmans);
2) technological and use wear/residue studies by means of microscopy (van Gijn);
3) X-rays in material science (Dik, in Delft).
The 3 specialisations will be introduced in block 1 in a series of formal lectures. In block 2 students will have to choose which laboratory tutorial they wish to take. This tutorial will give the basic knowledge and skills to carry out the analytical work for the thesis topic.

1) The ceramic petrography course introduces students to the methodology and application of thin section petrography of archaeological pottery. By using the principles of optical mineralogy and petrology, archaeological ceramic petrography focuses on provenance issues as well as on the reconstruction of ancient artisanal technology.
2) The microscopic study of objects reveals traces of the manufacturing, use and treatment of objects that are otherwise not apparent. Students will learn to use stereomicroscopes, incident light microscopy and transmitted light microscopes to distinguish these traces. Experiments are key in this tutorial.
3) X-rays in materials science will introduce students to materials science and the principal techniques for the analysis of inorganic materials, namely X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and X-ray diffraction. It will focus on the elemental and structural analysis of glass, metals and ceramics and the identification (and provenancing) of raw materials.

Course objectives

Familiarity with analytical techniques used to obtain detailed information about artefact biographies.

Ects distribution

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • Laboratory work (3 ects);

  • 140 pages of literature (1 ects).

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Individual tutorials in a laboratory context.

Assessment method

  • Written examination;

  • Incidental tests during the tutorials.

Assessment deadline

Exam dates can be found in the exam schedule.

Reading list

To be announced.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw prof. dr A.L. van Gijn.