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The sample preparation laboratory offers facilities for the wet processing of bulk samples, as well as the preparation of a variety of organic and inorganic materials for microscopic, chemical and isotopic analyses. We have a range of fast and slow rotary saws for the cutting of materials such as metal, slag, ceramics, rock or shell; resin impregnation facilities and rotary polishing machines for polished blocks (e.g. for metallography, or for sequential isotopic analyses of shell) and a Petrothin for the preparation of ceramic thin sections for petrographic analysis; a sand blaster and dust extraction hoods for the drilling of more delicate samples for isotopic analyses, including  teeth and bone for collagen extraction or metals for trace element and isotopic analyses; adjacent spaces house precision scales, freeze driers, and cold storage facilities up to -70 °C. With meticulous standard operating procedures for sample preparation, we place much emphasis on reproducibility and traceability.

Additional sample preparation facilities for soil micromorphology are housed in the Charles McBurney Laboratory, while cleaner facilities, for example for the preparation of pollen and starch samples, or the acid etching of metallographic specimens, are available at the Dorothy Garrod Laboratory.


Contact Us

Sample Preparation Laboratory
Department of Archaeology
Courtyard Building
Downing Street
Cambridge  CB2 3DZ

Main Contact Prof Marcos Martinón-Torres
Technicians Catherine KnealeDr Tonko Rajkovaca