Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Micrograph: Partially burnt sediment with plant voids

I've been preparing for teaching a micromorphology lab class tomorrow, on the topic of architectural materials. Having recently dug out my old laptop (to look at old job applications...), I came across my huge archive of micromorphology images. I really need to figure a way of making these available online. I have so many and they are such fantastic references. I found this nice example of a partially burnt aggregate; it is perfect for showing how pseudomorphic plant voids appear in a plant-tempered clay. On the right hand side of the image, the plant temper (grasses) has been burnt, and so has preserved in the form of microcharcoal. On the left hand side, where the aggregate escaped the burning, the plants have totally decayed, leaving only the voids in the shape of the grasses. It also shows how the colour of the sediment change as they are heated, becoming a distinctly darker brown. This sample is from the Deep Sounding midden at Catalhoyuk, some of the earliest deposits that have been excavated at the site.


  1. I think it would be very useful to create an online archive for micromorphology slides, with lots of nice high resolution photo's, lots of metadata, the possibility of annotation in a forever stable digital environment. Maybe ADS or DANS could help with this..?

    1. I've encountered myself several times now that blocs were taken from the excavations and slides were made and analysed, but 20 years later I tried to find them again (as no-one published the results back then, or only in black/white photocopies) and they were thrown away when institutes moved or ceased to exist or the micromorphologists retired or died..

    2. I have plans to try and archive my PhD material with ADS, it's just finding the time and money! Going forward I will be budgeting this into grant applications.