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Introduction to Ceramic Petrography Short Course

Altered feldspar of a granitic rock fragment (photo by M. del Pino)



Ceramics are the most abundant material found during archaeological excavation. Have you ever been curious to know what you can understand beyond typology, chronology and style? The ‘Introduction to Ceramic Petrography’ short course aims to provide participants with an understanding of the potential of thin section petrography in the integrated study of archaeological ceramic materials. 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.


Detailed Description

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For details on how to apply for this course please see the following website.

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 Cancellations and refunds:
Refund requests should be made by email to cerpetro_shortcourse@sheffield.ac.uk, no less than 14 days 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.

Further Details
 The fee includes tuition, fieldtrip 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.

This intensive course will be held for 6 days (Monday to Saturday), morning to afternoon. It consists of 10 one-hour lectures and 10 two-hour laboratory practicals on specific topics and half-day of fieldtrip at the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet.
During the course, participants will be encouraged to discuss and to work in groups in order to facilitate the learning process.
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. Furthermore, the short course includes a fieldtrip at the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet in Sheffield, where participants are brought back in a 18th century workplace and discover how local clays were used in the production cycle of famous Sheffield metal tools.

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-graduates students, and other researchers of archaeology but also for non-specialists to familiarise with petrography and understanding its methodology and potentialities in ceramic studies.

The course coordinators and instructors are Prof. Peter Day (Professor of Archaeological Materials), Dr Roberta Mentesana, Dr Clare Burke, Dr Miguel del Pino, and Dr Gareth Perry, with contribution from PhD students in Ceramic Petrography of the Department.

Course Schedule:
Mon 19 June
• Morning –Lecture and lab practical on microscopes and optical properties of minerals
• Afternoon - Lecture and lab practical on identification and properties of mineral in thin section
Tue 20 June
• Morning- Lecture and lab practical on the identification of sedimentary rocks in thin section
• Afternoon – Lecture and lab practical on identification of metamorphic rocks in thin section
Wed 21 June
• Morning - Lecture and lab practice on the identification of igneous rocks in thin section
• Afternoon - Lecture and lab practice on ceramic petrography
Thurs 22 June
• Morning - Fieldtrip at the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
• Afternoon - Lecture and lab practical on description and grouping of ceramic thin section
Fri 23 June
• Morning - Lecture and lab practical on the interpretation of ceramic provenance
• Afternoon - Lecture and lab practical on the reconstruction of ceramic technology
Sat 24 June
• Morning - Case studies and class discussion on selected publications

The course is limited to 10 places. To apply, please send the attached application to Peter Day and Roberta Mentesana.

(cerpetro_shortcourse@sheffield.ac.uk) by the 28th of February 2017. Attendance certificates will be issued at the end of the course.

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