Teaching and Research Facilities
The School of Archaeology & Ancient History at Leicester occupies its own building in the heart of the University campus. It features a set of well equipped laboratories for in-house scientific archaeology teaching and research as well as a dedicated Drawing Office.
The Bone Lab
The Bone Lab holds our large teaching and reference collections of animal bone and human bone. There are two major animal bone collections in the Laboratory:
- A reference collection of complete modern animal bone specimens arranged in taxonomic order.
- An index collection of bird and mammal bones for teaching and research organised by element.
The number of specimens is currently in excess of 500. Systematic groups represented include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, mostly from Britain and Europe, with a small number of exotics.
The Bone Lab is a very active teaching and research facility, comprising academic and ULAS staff, post-doctoral researchers, and PhD, MA, and undergraduate students. For more information about our facilities and ongoing research in the Bone Lab, please visit the dedicated Bone Lab website and Facebook page.
The Environmental Lab
The Environmental Laboratory is equipped with stereoscopic microscopes for studying macro-remains such as seeds, charcoal, shells and other finds. There is also a high-power transmission-light microscope for appropriate materials. The main reference resource in the laboratory is the comparative seed collection which contains over 1880 accessions covering over 1500 species or subspecific taxa from the northern Europaean wild and domesticated flora, and some exotic species.
The Ceramics Lab
This lab houses our ceramic reference and teaching collections, with materials drawn from excavations undertaken by the School and especially by ULAS from the city and from the county. A key collection of material under study currently comprises pottery of Iron Age and Roman date from the fieldschool excavations at Burrough Hill.
The laboratory also features a pottery wheel and small kiln for the experimental production and firing of pots.
The Starch and Residue Lab
The Starch and Residue Lab contains our research grade microscopes for the complete analysis of usewear (microwear) and organic residues on tools. We have a suite of low and high power microscopes and other facillities necessary for functional analysis of tools and the extraction and analysis of ancient starch granules. Our equipment:
- Two Zeiss Axioscop 2 MAT light microscopes fitted with an MRc 5 AxioCam (5 Megapixel resolution) digital camera. All of this is linked up to Zeiss Imaging Analysis software. One microscope is dedicated for reflected light observations and the other for transmitted light illumination with brightfield/darkfield/polarising/and differential interference contrast.
- A Zeiss Stemi 2000-C low power stereo-microscope.
- Reference collection for the analysis of Ancient Starch granules.
The Wet Lab
The Wet Lab is a purpose-built laboratory for sediment analysis, sample preparation, artefact washing and basic laboratory work. This is often in use for materials deriving from excavations by School staff and by ULAS.
The Drawing Office
The Drawing Office is used for both the teaching of archaeological illustration and as a working area for undergraduate, post graduate and staff research illustration. The office is equipped with drawing boards and drawing materials for the recording of artefacts, and there are computers and scanners set up with Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator for producing artwork.