Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Reunited at last!

I will sort them into subject areas at some point
Not too much to report from February. There are lots of things in progress, but I've spent a lot of time getting the facilities set up at Edinburgh, with relatively little time spent on new research. Hopefully now that most of the new lab kit has been ordered I can get going with all of the projects that have been put on hold during the moving process. Speaking of moving, having been based at three different universities over the past few years, my belongings have become somewhat spread out across the country, and I thought now would be the time to try and consolidate everything - mostly books! I had a parcel arrive from the University of Reading a few days ago, containing a whole load of books that I forgot to take when I moved to York in 2010 (I say forgot, most likely I didn't have the energy to pack up another two shelves of books from the office after clearing out everything at home). Mostly books on analytical chemistry, but also my beloved copy of Mellaart's Catalhoyuk a Neolithic Town in Anatolia.
The chemistry books are largely inorganic. I used a combination of inorganic and organic geochemical methods during my PhD, but as the research I was doing at York was entirely organic chemistry, I haven't really needed any of these for a while. But hopefully now that I am able to spend more time on near eastern inorganic materials, these will come in handy again.
The infra-red reference manual by Farmer was one of my most used books during my PhD, though since then an excellent online reference collection has been made available by the Kimmel Centre for Archaeological Science here. Fourier Transform Infra-red spectroscopic analysis (FT-IR) can be used for analysing organic and inorganic materials, but in archaeology is largely applied to inorganic materials such as ashes and plasters. FT-IR tells you the types of bonds present, and can also give a 'fingerprint' for the whole compound. However, as the same types of bonds can be present in multiple molecules, we have to be very careful to interpret these correctly. This is especially true in archaeological samples, which are often a mix of multiple different materials, making interpretation even more difficult. For organic materials, GC-MS has the advantage that it seperates out all the different components, making identification easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment