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Processing Lab

Exclusively designed for archaeological applications, the processing lab features ample space for efficient processing of soils, sediments, faunal and floral materials and artefacts.  In the processing lab, equipped with industrial sinks, an exhaust hood and custom drying racks, archaeological materials can be quickly cleaned and sorted prior to cataloguing and analysis.

The wet lab facility also houses analytical equipment, specifically for materials preparation and analysis.  The versatility of the equipment will enable archaeologists to prepare materials for a wide range of applications, including, but not limited to:

  • Sectioning and polishing of hard biological tissues, including animal bones, teeth and shell, and of non-organic materials, such as ceramics and lithics.
  • Micro-drilling and milling across incremental growth structures in shell and teeth to facilitate light stable isotope and trace elemental analyses.

Processing Lab Equipment:

  • Manual Grinder Polisher (Buehler Metaserv 250) with 8" platen capacity, variable speed control from 50 to 500 rpm, and aluminum platen to offer a flat, hard grinding-polishing surface for most media.
  • Vacuum Mounting (Buehler Cast N' Vac 1000) with high strength vacuum chamber, built-in synchronous motor and rotating turn table pouring mechanism.
  • Buehler IsoMet 1000 Precision Saw with counterbalance sliding load weight system (0-800g), 1/8 Hp DC motor, 7" blade capacity, variable speed from 0 to 975 rpm and inch/mm digital micrometer from 0.001" or 100 micron.
  • Minimo high precision rotary tool mounted on a drill press or handheld for cutting samples such as bone, ceramic, antler or shell.


Microscopy and Analytical Lab

This lab has been specifically designed for the analysis of archaeological materials. It is equipped with state-of-the-art microscopes to produce high-resolution digital images, as well as to facilitate the analysis of micro-artifacts. In addition to the microscopy equipment, this spacious lab allows researchers the space to access, organize and analyze large numbers of artefacts, and to select samples of materials for analyses conducted at outside facilities.





Microscopy and Analytical Lab Equipment:

  • Zeiss V8 8:1 zoom range stereomicroscope with 5.0MP digital colour camera and stand alone monitor, including transmitted light base with BF, DF, oblique light and polarizing LED ringlight and a total magnification range with 1.5x objective is 15x-20x.
  • Zeiss V8 apochromatically corrected stereomicroscope with adjustable clamping ring to hold microdrill and reflected light LED. The 1x objective with 81mm working distance provides total magnification range of 10x-80x.
  • Minimo high precision rotary tool mounted onto a microscope for high resolution microdrilling and micromilling, ideal for material preparation for geochemical analyses (i.e. stable isotopes, trace elements).
  • Zeiss V8 stereomicroscopes with polarized LED ringlights. The 0.63x objective provides a total magnification range of 6.3x to 50.4x
  • Zeiss 12.0MP high resolution colour digital camera with ZEN imaging software for easy control of microscope, camera, and automatic Z focus, Z stacks and EDF single infocus images. High quality 64-bit imaging computer and monitor.
  • Zeiss Axiozoom V16 high resolution manual microscope with motorized zoom, manual transmitted light contrast techniques and variable LED ringlight with DF and polarizing accessories as well as dual polarized light pipes. Total INTELLIGENT magnification range 3.5x-258x.

Use the Lab

The lab space is available for use by visiting researchers. For more information about facility use and availability please contact us by phone or email.

Contact Us

photo of Scott Martin

Scott Martin

Operations Manager | Sustainable Archaeology McMaster