Since May 2017, the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials offers a series of 5-day intensive courses in the field of archaeological science. They are aimed at advanced undergraduates, graduate students, scholars, and professionals with a background in archaeology or in a relevant field (BA/BSc required). All courses are taught by CAAM Teaching Specialists and Museum staff and are offered on rotation every 2-3 years with the final dates confirmed in the Spring of each year.
Location: Courses will be held in the Penn Museum’s Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA.
Course fees: $900 for 5-day course, $600 for 3-day course. Fees include all course materials and access to laboratory facilities. Travel to and from Philadelphia, accommodation, meals and course credits are not covered by the course fees.
A minimum of 4 participants is required for courses to be offered.
Registration for the Summer 2020 courses is now closed.
2020 Intensive Courses
- Field Archaeobotany
- Instructor: Dr. Chantel White
Date: May 27 - 29
Description: This three-day course will focus on the principles and practicalities of field archaeobotany with a focus on carbonized macrobotanical remains. First, participants will learn how to design a flotation sampling strategy and will then receive hands-on experience building a water-recycling flotation system from scratch (bilge-pump design). Participants will float samples using proper recording and processing techniques and will learn how to test their recovery rates. We will then discuss how to set up a field lab and carry out lab activities such as heavy fraction sorting. As part of this short course we’ll review permitting issues for importing archaeological samples to the US and procedures for creating a botanical reference collection. Students will receive detailed plans and equipment lists to assist in building their own flotation systems and will receive a set of light fraction collection bags.
- Methods for Zooarchaeology in Andean South America
- Instructor: Dr. Katherine Moore
Date: June 1 - 5
Description: This five-day course is designed for archaeologists either planning a field program in Andean South America or approaching an existing zooarchaeology collection. The basic research questions in zooarchaeology will be related to field practices for sampling, recovery, and conservation. Participants will practice the major tasks of sorting, identification, dental description, and bone metric recording using hands-on material and CAAM comparative collections, backed up with material from the Academy of Natural Sciences. Surface modification and histology will be used to reconstruct taphonomic pathways and life history variables. Sampling and interpretation of molecular zooarchaeology data (aDNA and isotopes) will be discussed and sampling protocols demonstrated.
- Petrography of Cultural Materials
- Instructor: Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau
Date: June 8 - 12
Description: This five-day course will introduce participants to thin-section petrography of ceramic archaeological objects and architectural materials (stone, mortars and plasters). Using polarized light microscopy, the course will cover the basics of optical mineralogy and the petrography of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. We will move on to the petrographic characterization of ceramic materials and the interpretation of provenance and manufacturing technology. Participants who wish to work on their own material are encouraged to bring their thin-sections.
- Instructor: Dr. Jason Herrmann
Date: August 10 - 14
Description: The CAAM Intensive Course in Archaeogeophysics is a five-day workshop where participants will receive hands-on experience in collecting, processing and interpreting near-surface geophysical data on archaeological sites. The workshop will take place at the Morris Arboretum where instruction will be divided between survey in the field and lectures and exercises in the classroom. Work in the classroom will cover the theory of geophysical sensors commonly used in archaeological investigations, physical properties of common archaeological and paleoenvironmental targets, field methods for data collection, data processing and interpretation. We will collect data on historic sites in the Arboretum using a magnetic gradiometer, an earth resistance meter, and using electromagnetic induction. A significant proportion of the course will be computer-based as participants work with the data that we collect, focusing on the fundamentals of data processing, data fusion, and interpretation. Some familiarity with GIS is recommended.
Past Intensive Courses
- 2019 - Problems and Methods in Zooarchaeology
- Course Instructor: Dr. Katherine M Moore
Description: This course is designed for archaeologists either planning a field program or approaching an existing zooarchaeology collection. The basic research questions in zooarchaeology will be related to field practices for sampling, recovery, and conservation. Participants will practice the major tasks of sorting, identification, and data recording using hands-on material and CAAM comparative collections. Surface modification and histology will be used to reconstruct taphonomic pathways and life history variables. Sampling and interpretation of molecular zooarchaeology data (aDNA and isotopes) will be discussed and sampling protocols demonstrated.
- 2019 - Triage Care of Artifacts On Site
- Course Instructor: Team taught by PM Conservators
Description: This intensive course will cover the main sorts of materials recovered from archaeological contexts, how they are affected by their deposit environment, and how they may be preserved for study. The mornings will consist of lectures and the afternoons of hands-on exercises to support lecture-based materials. Topics covered will include basic cleaning, mending, safe retrieval, and proper storage. This course will not make you a conservator but will help you know what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) if a conservator is not available onsite.
- 2019 - Mining and Metallurgy in Archaeology
- Course Instructor: Mr. Moritz Jansen
Description: This course allows participants from different disciplines insights into the research at the interface of Archaeology, Geosciences, Material Sciences and Engineering. Topics to be discussed in lectures and practical lessons include: types of deposits, exploitation of ore, the transformation to metal, distribution of metal as a raw material, development and organization of early metallurgy, and interdisciplinary investigations of metals and related artifacts like slag and crucibles. Participants will become familiar with the full spectrum of analytical procedures, ranging from microscopy for materials characterization to mass spectrometry for geochemical fingerprinting. The goal is to provide basic principles to solve issues related to the research of metal production and processing in an archaeological context.
- 2018 - Petrography of Cultural Materials
- Course Instructor: Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau
Description: This course will introduce participants to thin-section petrography of ceramic archaeological objects and architectural materials (stone, mortars and plasters). Using polarized light microscopy, the course will cover the basics of optical mineralogy and the petrography of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. We will move on to the petrographic characterization of ceramic materials and the interpretation of provenance and manufacturing technology. Participants who wish to work on their own material are encouraged to bring their thin-sections. Note that thin-sectioning costs are not covered by the registration fee and thin-sections should be manufactured in advance of the course. Please contact the course instructor for more information.
- 2017 - Archaeological Textile Studies
- Course Instructor: Dr. Anne Tiballi
Description: This course centers on the tools and techniques employed in the analysis of archaeological textile materials of ancient Peru and introduces students to the archaeology of the Andes. Students will learn to identify, analyze, and document the features of ancient textiles (fiber, spin/ply composition, color, weave structure, iconography) by examining archaeological examples from various sites in Peru from the Penn Museum’s collection, and by learning how to spin and weave the Andean way. No prior experience is required, and instruction is flexible enough to accommodate novice and experienced weavers and archaeologists. This course is ideally suited for graduate students in Andean archaeology, museum professionals, and textile enthusiasts with an academic bent.
- 2017 - Field Archaeobotany
- Course Instructor: Dr. Chantel White
Description: The course is open to graduate students in anthropology and related disciplines as well as professional archaeologists. Coursework is geared toward individuals with previous experience. Our daily schedule will replicate the activities and decisions of a field archaeobotanist in order to familiarize participants with the responsibilities they will encounter on an archaeological project. Course lectures will educate participants on how to choose and implement appropriate sampling strategies, and case studies will be used to explore best-practice techniques for the recovery of macrobotanical remains, phytoliths, and starch grains. Hands-on activities in class will include learning how to set up a small field lab and build a recycling hand-pump flotation system. Participants will then process flotation samples and work to team-sort heavy fraction. We will also spend time practicing microbotanical sampling techniques with experimental artifacts from the CAAM lab.