This module will introduce how materials of biological origin have been utilised through history and prehistory. It will address how these materials are preserved in the archaeological record, and what these materials can tell us about life in the past.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£TBC

Course structure

Delivery will be varied across the module, and will include lectures, tutorials and laboratory/practical exercises in small groups. Online activities and guided reading will also be provided.

What you will learn

On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between different materials of biological origin and differentiate how they would have been used in the archaeological record
  • Examine a range of these materials using appropriate analytical techniques
  • Assess the data generated from their own laboratory work and from published studies, and appraise the inferences made

Core content

  • Materials to be covered within this module are likely to include:
  • Bone and teeth (including preservation of mineral and organic phases, isotopic analysis for dietary and migration studies, and carbon dating)
  • Dental calculus
  • Ivory
  • Animal skins (leather, parchment)
  • Organic residues
  • Wood as a building material
  • Plant remains and wood in the archaeological record (including diet and ornamental/ritual use)
  • Charcoal
  • Shells
  • Jet and ‘hydrocarbon gemology’

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