Adi will give a lecture on “Microarchaeology” in the chemistry department at BIU (May 20, 2015)

Adi Eliyahu, the Safi archaeological science coordinator, will be giving a lecture next Wednesday (May 20, 2015) in departmental colloquium of the chemistry department at BIU. If you can – do come to the lecture – should be very interesting.

See details below:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 11am, Chemistry Building (# 211), Seminar room (#112)

SPEAKER: Adi Eliyahu Behar

TOPIC: Micro-archaeology: The crossroads of Science and Archaeology

The archaeological record is, for the most part, fragmentary in that only a limited part of the original materials are buried, what is buried undergoes change over time, and when excavated, not all is being retrieved.  Archaeological excavation is a destructive procedure. During excavation architecture is usually exposed, and macroscopic objects related to the material culture of the inhabitants are collected, such as ceramics, metals, bones etc. It has been recently acknowledged that microscopic aspects of these macroscopic finds as well as microscopic finds (traditionally ignored), contain invaluable information regarding human culture development. The micro-archaeology approach aims to this information, therefore enabling a more complete reconstruction of the archaeological record to be achieved.  Applying this approach means the utilization of various analytical methods that enable us to add in the levels of materials and atoms and to see what cannot be seen by the naked eye. In turn, this is then utilized in order to formulate and answer historical and archaeological questions. A great deal of this is done in the field during the act of excavation, the rest is continued later at the Lab.

Excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath, provided a unique opportunity to develop micro-archaeological excavation methods. Field work was followed by further chemical and microstructure analysis of the artifacts using XRF and  SEM-EDS. Results enabled us to deal with some key issues in ancient technology: how, where and when iron became the dominant metal in use, replacing copper and its alloys?

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