Laboratories

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CERAMIC TECHNOLOGY MICROSCOPY LABORATORY (CTML)

The CTML is a laboratory dedicated to the macroscopic and microscopic analysis of archaeological materials, mostly ceramics, but also stone tools. We focus primarily on the generation of data that reveal the choices people made in all the stages of the ceramic and lithic operational sequence.

We are located in room 366 at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe Campus.

We offer access to the following:

An Olympus BX53 Polarizing Microscope, equipped with an Olympus DP72 digital camera and image analysis capabilities (Image Pro Plus software), ideal for mineralogical and technological analysis of thin sections.

An Olympus SZX16 Research Stereomicroscope, equipped with a Qimaging QlClick Color digital camera and image analysis capabilities (Image Pro Premier software), ideal for the detailed analysis of ceramic and lithic surfaces.

An Olympus SZ61 Routine Stereomicroscope with digital imaging and image analysis capabilities for quick and efficient processing of archaeological material.

A wide range of mineralogy atlases and reference thin sections, along with archaeological and geological resources to aid in the mineralogical analysis of archaeological ceramics and stone tools.

A DinoLite AM4013MT portable digital microsope.

A Nikon D90 digital camera with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED, along with photographic scales, exposure cards and a book stand, lights, light tent and tripod.

CERAMICS AND SEDIMENTS PREPARATION LABORATORY (CSPL)

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From left to right: Drs. Campisano, Michelaki, and Abbott

The CSPL is a laboratory dedicated to the processing and preparation of geological and archaeological materials.

We are located in room 350A at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe Campus.

At the CSPL students and researchers have access to desks and stereomicroscopes for the analysis of archaeological ceramics, a drying oven, an electric furnace, deionized water, a fume hood, a snorkel that removes dust efficiently when working with materials like dry clay, as well as standard laboratory supplies (e.g. beakers and other glassware, balances etc.).

CURRENT PROJECTS AT THE LABS

The firing temperatures used to manufacture ceramics offer important information about the technologies and the techniques selected by ancient potters. THis study uses phase transitions in clay minerals present in the pottery paste to determine firing temperatures in the manufacture of ceramic containers. Archaeologists have traditionally relied on the decomposition and reformation of different minerals present in the temper to determine firing temperatures of archaeological ceramic samples. However, the presence of particular minerals that undergo phase transitions within typical firing ranges limits the sensitivity of these methods. Clay minerals are ubiquitously present in ceramic samples and thus offer a consistent means to analyze heat-induced changes to ceramic materials.

This study uses image analysis software to measure the amount of reflected light that passes through thin sections of raw clays fired to temperatures typical of ancient ceramics (600-1200 oC). The optical activity and amount of transmitted light that passes through the thin section will be measured with sensitive image analysis software. Using these data, the project reconstructs changes to the optical properties of the clay samples with increasing temperature. It is possible that the analysis results will allow archaeologists to determine more precisely the firing temperatures used to manufacture ancient ceramics. In addition, the results will thoroughly document changes to the optical properties of various clay minerals at various firing temperatures.

  • An experimental study on the evolution of wheel-fashioning methods: Skills, technical variability, and criteria for identification on archaeological ceramics. Armance Dupond Delaleuf.

The diversity and diagnostic criteria of identification of wheel-fashioning methods (shaping a coiled pot with the help of rotary motion) are currently poorly documented. Yet, such techniques are present archaeologically for millennia, suggesting that they were an important step in the evolution of pottery-making. Wheel-fashioning methods, contrary to wheel-throwing, do not involve the centering of a homogeneous lump of clay on a wheel. Nevertheless, the coiled pot has to be balanced on the wheel. 

This project aims to refine our understanding of wheel-fashioning methods in terms of the gestural diversity and logics they entail. Several pots will be fashioned experimentally so that deformation due to decentering can be measured to assess how it could damage manufacturing and how craftspeople would have to compensate.

PRIMARY FACULTY

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Dr. Kostalena Michelaki

Associate Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU

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Dr. Chris Campisano

Assistant Professor, School of Human Evolution and social Change, ASU.

Assistant Professor, Institute of Human Origins, ASU.

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Dr. Arleyn Simon

Associate Research Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change,  ASU.

Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU.

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Dr. David Abbott

Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.

Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU.



POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWS

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Dr. Armance Dupond Delaleuf

Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. Université de Paris Ouest, Nanterre-La Défense.


GRADUATE STUDENTS

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Sarah Striker

Ph.D. candidate, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.

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Krista Eschback

Ph.D. candidate, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.



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Nick Gauthier

Ph.D. student, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.



Sophia Kelly

AAAS Fellow, Washington D.C.

Ph.D. 2013, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.

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Laura Swantek

Ph.D. candidate, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.

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Hannah Reitzel Rivera

Ph.D. graduate student, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.

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Anya Frashuer

M.A., School of Human Evolution and Social Change, ASU.



UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

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Jasdeep Kaur

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU.


Nicole Webb

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU.



VISITING RESEARCHERS

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Ally Halliwell

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Environment and Geography-Human Geography, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.



LABORATORY FOR THE INTERDISCIPLINARY RESERCH ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL CERAMICS (LIRAC) - Department of Anthropology, McMaster University.

Funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

K. Michelaki, PI

As an assistant professor of Anthropology at McMaster University I created LIRAC. Now it is under the direction of Dr. Andy Roddick.

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© Dr. Kostalena Michelaki 2012