Experts discussed the use of natural and technical sciences in archaeology

Photo gallery: Ota Blahoušek, Volodymyr Pauk
Wednesday 8 February 2023, 13:00 – Text: Šárka Chovancová

The participants of the second year of the School of Archaeometry, which took place in Fort Science on 2–3February 2023, were introduced to the latest findings in the use of natural and technical sciences in archaeology. The interdisciplinary meeting of scientists was organised by the Departments of Analytical Chemistry and Geology of the Palacký University Faculty of Science together with the National Heritage Institute, the Olomouc Archaeological Centre, and Fort Science.

“The National Heritage Institute perceives the School of Archaeometry as a very beneficial interdisciplinary meeting, which already has its own tradition. We consider our participation to be strategic. New technologies and techniques in the field of natural sciences (and not only there) are developing at a dizzying speed, and thanks to them, the knowledge and care of material cultural heritage are gaining an extraordinary opportunity to look at the material essence with tools that were either not available at all a few years ago or their penetration into heritage conservation was hardly imaginable. Today, together with our partners, we are shaping archaeometry, informing each other about the possibilities of this discipline, and determining the direction of knowledge, also based on the needs of heritage conservation. For this reason, such meetings are very strategic for the development of heritage conservation,” said Jana Michalčáková, Deputy Minister for Heritage Conservation, who spoke about enamel technology and its analysis.

Another part of the programme, which was attended by over 80 experts and students, included a lecture by Jan Petřík from the Department of Geological Sciences of Masaryk University Brno on the archaeometric analysis of ceramics. Martin Moník from the UP Department of Geology focused on the heating of silicates, Martin Havlík Mícha from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague then spoke about the technology of glass production and analysis. An introduction to parasitology was provided by Barbora Pafčo from the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), while Václav Vondrovský from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS gave a lecture on the possibilities and limits of radiocarbon dating in archaeology.

“I rate this year’s School of Archaeometry very positively. A really large number of participants from various fields of research signed up for the event, which makes me as the organiser very pleased and gives me the feedback that the whole event was worthwhile. I really liked the idea of my colleagues from the Department of Geology to make Friday morning more ‘action-packed’ and organize a stone splitting workshop. This course, led by Petr Neruda from the Moravian Museum, introduced the participants to the processes of making stone tools in the earliest times of human history. For future editions we will keep this form of workshop and we will try to come up with something new and interesting every time,” added Lukáš Kučera from the Department of Analytical Chemistry.

Environmental Geology student David Hudec was also in attendance. “The school of archaeometry was very beneficial for me, because I myself apply geological methods to the study of historical monuments. I find the contributions on the borderline between natural and historical sciences related to heritage conservation as particularly useful. And I hope that my lecture on the building stones from the Church of St. Moritz in Olomouc and their provenance was equally beneficial for the audience,” said Hudec.

The next year of the School of Archaeometry will take place in a year and a half. “Now we will rest for a few months and then we will start thinking about the composition of its programme,” said Kučera.


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