Introduction to Ceramic Petrology Course 2019
From 13-24 May 2019, the Fitch Laboratory will hold a two-week postgraduate training course providing an introduction to ceramic petrology, building upon the Laboratory’s expertise on ceramic petrology applications and its extensive reference collections of geological and ceramic thin sections.
The course is designed for people with no (or limited) previous experience on petrology although familiarity with archaeological ceramics will be useful. It is an excellent introduction for students already on a research degree in archaeological materials, as well as for postdoctoral researchers and academics interested in being familiar with ceramic petrology applications. Although the focus is primarily with ceramic materials, the skills learnt are applicable to the study of lithics, building materials, pigments and soils.
The course comprises daily lectures and practicals introducing to optical polarizing light microscopy, the identification of main rock-forming minerals, the classification of rock types, the use and interpretation of geological maps and, subsequently, the analysis of thin sections of archaeological ceramics and processed raw materials to reconstruct provenance and technology. The participants are also introduced to the principles of chemical analysis of ceramics (with a critical review of the most commonly used techniques involving both desktop and portable equipment) and the combined use of chemical and petrographic data. A demonstration will be held on the preparation of thin sections as well as of samples for chemical analysis. Furthermore, a field class to Aegina, including a visit to a traditional pottery workshop, provides practical experience on prospection for pottery raw materials and sampling, as well as contemporary potting practices. Towards the end, each participant has the opportunity to undertake a case study project. In total, the course includes 20 hours of lectures, 28 hours of laboratory practicals, 11 additional contact hours for project accomplishment, plus a day-fieldtrip.