Archaeology Short Courses

The Department of Archaeology offers a range of intensive short courses in archaeological specialisms. These courses are open to the public, and are especially suited to people considering pursuing a career in that specialism or those that want to add to their archaeology skill set. Below you will find information about current and upcoming short courses

Introduction to Ceramic Petrography

The ‘Introduction to Ceramic Petrography’ short course aims to provide participants with an understanding of the potential of thin section petrography in the study of ceramic materials.

Image of Petrography Poster

During this course participants will learn how to use the polarised light optical microscope, to identify rocks and minerals in thin section, and to analyse ceramic thin sections to understand issues of provenance and technology. The aim is for course participants to be critical consumers of the growing body of literature on the petrography of archaeological ceramics.

This intensive course will be held for 6 days (11th -16th June), morning to afternoon. It consists of 10 one-hour lectures and 10 two-hour laboratory practicals on specific topics and a half-day field trip.

Participants will be based in the Department’s Archaeological Materials Lab which houses a large number of research-grade optical microscopes. The course will draw on the Department’s extensive collection of geological reference material and ceramic thin section from throughout the Mediterranean.

The course is open to people with no or limited previous experience on thin section petrography, although a knowledge of ceramics is desirable. It is an excellent opportunity for post-graduate students, and other researchers of archaeology but also for non-specialists to familiarise with petrography and understanding its methodology and potentialities in ceramic studies.

Provisional Timetable:

Day 1 Monday 11th June
Morning Lecture and lab practical on microscopes and optical properties of minerals
Afternoon Lecture and lab practical on the identification of igneous rocks in thin section
Evening Social Dinner
Day 2 Tuesday 12th June                   
Morning Morning Lecture and lab practical on the identification of sedimentary rocks in thin section          
Afternoon    Afternoon Lecture and lab practical on identification of metamorphic rocks in thin section
Day 3     Wednesday 13th June
Morning Morning Fieldtrip at the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
Afternoon Afternoon Lecture and lab practice on ceramic petrography                         
Day 4         Thursday 14th June   
Morning     Morning Lecture and lab practical on description and grouping of ceramic thin section   
Afternoon Afternoon Lecture and lab practical on the interpretation of ceramic provenance  
Day 5       Friday 15th June
Morning     Morning Lecture and lab practical on the reconstruction of ceramic technology

Afternoon Case studies and class discussion on selected publications

Day 6        
Saturday 16th June
Morning Morning Lecture and case studies on integrating ceramic petrography in ceramic studies
Afternoon Farewell lunch

The course is limited to 10 places. To apply, please send your completed application to Peter Day, Roberta Mentesana or Evin Tsai

Attendance certificates will be issued at the end of the course.

If you have any questions please contact:

Book your place  Online shop

Cost: £600

The fee includes tuition, field trip expenses, all teaching materials, daily coffee and biscuits and a taste of the locally produced ale! Travel and accommodation are responsibility of the participant. On request, we would be happy to provide information on recommended accommodation in Sheffield.

Cancellations and refunds: Refund requests should be made by email to, no less than 6 weeks before the start of the course. We will attempt to fill the course place, and in the event that a replacement is found a full refund will be made. If a replacement cannot be found a refund of 50% of the course fee will be made. No refund will be made for cancellations made less than 14 days before the course start date. If you are experiencing any difficulty please contact us as early as possible.