Taking over the world, one slide at a time

So, I’m back from holidays in sunny Florida and have finally got through the email backlog. My September to do list is getting longer and longer, but it’s not all bad! Just before I went on hols I submitted an application to the University of York Teaching and Learning Development Fund, and it was successful! So one of my new tasks is to set up a microscope teaching laboratory at BioArCh, which will provide state of the art teaching facilities for microscopy, including microfossil analysis, artefact analysis and thin section micromorphology. The funding covers purchase of a new suite of teaching microscopes with image acquisition facilities, as well as reference collections for key areas of teaching. This is great news; we’ve had a number of students interested in working with microscopic analysis and have so far made do with our research microscope and my own personal research kit. The new facility will mean that we can incorporate further microanalysis into teaching, particularly practical skills, as well as having more students working in this area for dissertation projects. Now the hard part is deciding which it to go for. I’m partial to Zeiss myself, being the proud owner of a wonderful old 1960s Zeiss Standard pol, but Leica are also good and I hear Olympus are not too shabby either. 

Other plans to take over the world with micromorphology include a conference exhibition in collaboration with Julie at Earthslides.com.  Julie hosted a fantastic ‘Hidden Worlds’exhibition at the World Archaeological Congress, Dublin 2008. We are hoping to do something similar that we can showcase at a number of conferences next year, hopefully starting with WAC 7 in Jordan 2013. The exhibition will consist of around 9 large posters with high resolution images of micromorphology slides, alongside a short text explaining what the viewer is looking at, and how it contributes to our understanding of the archaeology. To the left is an example that Julie did in 2008 on floor deposits from
Çatalhöyük. For the 2nd exhibition we will be showcasing slides from Paisley Caves, Oregon. Which means I need to get on to finishing the analysis pronto!