MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-18

SPRING SEMESTER 15 CREDITS
AAP6106 MINERALOGY AND PETROGRAPHY OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL CERAMICS
CO-ORDINATOR: PETER DAY
OTHER TUTORS: GARETH PERRY

MODULE OUTLINE

This module introduces students to the methodology and application of microscopic analysis to the study of archaeological ceramics. The course consists of lectures and practical classes designed to lead students through the principles of polarising light microscopy, optical mineralogy and petrology. By the use of case studies and comparative materials, students are then introduced to the application of these earth science approaches to the interpretation of technology and provenance of ceramics. Upon completion of the course, participants should have attained a basic level of understanding of the microscopic composition of ceramics and be able to tackle assemblages in a structured scientific manner. This module is a necessary prerequisite for Archaeological Materials MSc dissertations in ceramic analysis..


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:

  • Provide students with detailed training in the techniques of microscopic analysis of archaeological ceramics.
  • Enable students to tackle thin sections in a structured scientific way.
  • Demonstrate how microscopic analysis is applied alongside a range of other analytical techniques to interpret the technology and provenance of a range of archaeological materials.
  • Enable students to gain an appreciation of earth science techniques and their application within interdisciplinary materials-based analysis.

MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of :

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of archaeological ceramics and their main components under the microscope.
  • Identify the common rock forming minerals in thin section.
  • Have developed a general understanding of the three major groups of rocks and be able to classify them using their mineralogical composition in thin section.
  • Group ceramic assemblages based upon their composition in thin section.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the process of thin section description and petrographic data collection.
  • Have developed an understanding of the way in which thin section data is used to interpret the provenance of ceramics.
  • Have developed an understanding of the types of features used to infer ceramic technology in thin section.
  • Be aware of important practitioners and publications in the field of ceramic petrography.

EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES/TUTORIALS

Our lectures/seminars are highly participative and taught by leaders in their field.

  • Introduction. Archaeological Petrography. Minerals and Mineralogy
  • Identifying Minerals
  • Igneous Rocks
  • Sedimentary Rocks
  • Metamorphic Rocks
  • Clays, Soils and Weathering. Minerals and Rocks as Inclusions
  • Introduction to Ceramic Petrography. Composition and Grouping
  • Ceramic Thin Section Description
  • Interpreting Ceramic Provenance
  • Reconstructing Ceramic Technology

STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Lectures 8
Laboratory Sessions 16
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 126

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Lab Work 50% 3 hours
Lab Work 50% 3 hours