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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Archaeological Artefacts Forensic Analysis Centre

Located in the Materials Analysis Laboratory (D242) of the Dawson Building, the Department of Archaeology has built up an equipment centre to facilitate the study of archaeological artefacts and materials. The centre supports a commercial research arm DARC run by Dr Kamal Badresharny and houses a number of analytical facilities:

• Hitachi TM3000 SEM, with Oxford instruments EDAX
• Bruker tracer 5i Portable XRF
• Perkin Elmer Spectrum 2 FTIR
• Camspec 17330 UV-Vis Spectrometer
• Konica Minolta 2600d Spectrophotometer
• Leitz Laborlux research microscope
• Leitz 12 polarising microscope with reflected light capability
• Wild M5 Stereomicroscope
• Faxitron cabinet X-ray unit
• Panalytical Aeris XRD copper tube
• Lulzbot filament 3D printer
• Z Corp colour powder-deposition 3D printer

Elsewhere in the department :

• GE portable medical X-ray generator
• Leica research microscopes, including cameras, fluorescence, polarisers and stereo capability depending on specific unit
• Professional photography suite, including darkroom and wet processing facilities
• Modern and Ancient DNA analysis facilities
• Isotopes analysis facility
• Luminescence research facility
• Dendrochronology equipment (semi-automated ring width counter)
• Polishing wheel and saw
• Claisse Laneo Bead Fuser
• Pellet Press
• Large volume ultrasonic bath
• Dental Drill for small-scale cutting and grinding
• .1 mg microbalance

Arriving in academic year 2017/18

• GE or equivalent industrial CR x-ray plate reader (for use with the Faxitron in particular)
• Konica Minolta or equivalent DR x-ray plate reader (for use with the GE medical x ray unit in particular)

Archaeology shared equipment elsewhere in the university

• Panlytical WD-XRF with ED-XRF core and microXRF attachment (in association with Geography)
• Panalytical Aeris XRD cobalt tube (in association with Geography)
• FEI Quanta Environmental SEM with Field Emission Gun QEMSCAN (purchase in 2018 in association with Physics)


The centre builds on two decades of analytical investigations by Dr Chris Caple. Projects have included analysis of:

The Milton Keynes pendant

Caple C., Clogg P., Hamerow H. & Turner-Walker G.1995 'The Gold Anglo-Saxon Pendant: Technical, Analytical and Stylistic Attributes' in Tattenhoe & Westbury Two Deserted Medieval Settlements in Milton Keynes. Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society Monograph Series No.8, 1995. R.J. Ivens, P. Busby & N. Shepherd, 397-403.

Durham Cathedral doors

Caple C. 1999 'The Cathedral Doors' in Durham Archaeological Journal 14-15, 131-140.

The Andrews Hill Brooch

Saxon Shakudo

Mortar, Wax and Painted Plaster from Dryslwyn Castle

Excavations at Dryslwyn Castle 1980-1995

Saxon Brooches

Ancestor Artefacts - Ancestor Materials

The centre tackles analysis from basic materials identification and compositional surveys of archaeological materials and artefacts to detailed research projects and quantitative analysis.

For more information on the commercial activity of the centre, please contact Dr Kamal Badreshany,(DARC commercial analysis) Steven Robertson (access to the lab or equipment) or Vicky Garlick (Conservation Services) (conservation or investigation of ancient artefacts)


The centre supports the teaching of the Artefact Studies and Conservation Practice modules in the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies and MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects programmes. It also supports the Scientific Methods in Archaeology II module component of the BSc in Archaeology. In all of these modules, students use the equipment from this centre.

Undergraduates and postgraduates also use this equipment to support their dissertations:

Anne McNair 2007 'The Development of Pigments on English Porcelain'.

Hannah Urquhart 2011 'Ancient Egyptian Eye Cosmetics: composition, function and symbolism'.