Facilities for Archaeological Research


Prof. Elisabetta Boaretto

The laboratory activity is focused on archaeological research using radiocarbon. The overall approach used for radiocarbon dating is to first define as well as possible the context from which the samples are obtained, which involves extensive field work. The samples are then pre-screened for preservation and contamination, in order to identify those most suitable for dating. The quality of the samples is then re-evaluated after the cleaning procedures, and only then is the sample prepared for radiocarbon analysis. The laboratory has much expertise characterizing charcoal, bone collagen, wood and parchment.

The sample preparation laboratory is equipped with a computer controlled vacuum line facility for preparing graphite targets. An NEC accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) has been installed in a 100 square meter laboratory. The laboratory is directed by Dr. Boaretto and is managed by Dr. Lior Regev.

Geoarchaeology and Mineralogy

This laboratory uses mainly micromorphology, mineralogical and phytoliths analyses to better understand site formation processes and to reconstruct site activities. Ethnoarchaeological studies are also carried out. The laboratory has facilities for embedding sediments, extracting phytoliths from plants and sediments, infrared spectrometers for mineralogical analysis and petrographic microscopes.

This laboratory uses mainly X-ray fluorescence, mineralogical and microstructure analyses to study sediments, objects and artifacts including those related to copper, bronze and iron metallurgy. The laboratory is equipped with all the necessary instruments for preparation of samples for elemental and optical analyses, and has access to on-campus electron microscopy facilities. The laboratory uses an Oxford Link EDS system and a Gatan cathodeluminescence detector attached to a Leo Gemini scanning electron microscope.

Materials Characterization

Understanding material structure and preservation is the key to many applications in archaeology. Mineral identification and characterization in particular can provide much insight into site formation processes, as well as reconstructing past activities. Identification and characterization of charred and un-charred organic materials is also of much importance. The Center has several Fourier transform infrared spectrometers, as well as petrographic microscopes, and access to advanced X-ray diffraction equipment and Raman spectroscopy.

On-site Laboratory

At the excavation we operate one or two Nicolet portable FTIR spectrometers and a portable petrographic microscope. At the base camp we carry out phytolith concentration analyses, phosphate analyses, micro-artifact determinations and if necessary we bring the transportable XRF to the base camp.

Tree-Rings and Botanical Remains Lab

Trees and seeds bear valuable climatic and chronological data. We work on local plants, modern and archaeological, in order to expand the knowledge on past climate, plant domestication, tree growth patterns, and more. The lab is fully equipped for extracting cores from fresh and dry wood, their preparation and analysis, as well as wood and seeds identification and morphometric studies.


On-Campus Facilities

Center for Electron Microscopy

This Center is located in a new building close to the Kimmel Center and contains transmission electron microscopes for biological research, as well as for materials research. The latter includes a Philips Technai 300 with an energy filter for obtaining atomic resolution images and analyses. The Center also operates 3 scanning electron microscopes (Leo Gemini, Leo Supra and a Philips XL30 ESEM) both equipped with energy dispersive spectrometers (EDS) for elemental analyses. The microscopes are operated by researchers after undergoing training, and their use is on a per session charge basis. The Center for Electron Microscopy also operates an XRadia microCT with a resolution of around one micron.

Analytical Facilities

The Center has access to on-campus facilities that include a Bruker Infrared microscope, an FT_Raman spectrometer, a Horiba advanced Raman microscope, TGA-DTA analyser, CHNO analyser, Maldi-Toff mass spectrometer, and an array single crystal and powder X-ray diffractometers. The Center also has access to a state-of-the-art micro-CT (XRadia-400).