Newcastle Material Culture Analytical Suite
Since joining Newcastle in 2015, a major focus of mine has been in developing our archaeological science provision. Newcastle was unusual in being one of the only archaeology departments (and certainly in the Russell Group) to only offer a BA degree, rather than having a BA and BSc pathway, and I have been very keen to develop both our facilities and teaching in this area. From the first small step, convincing the School to purchase a set of teaching microscopes for my modules in Environmental Archaeology and Geoarchaeology, to setting up the BSc programme (first intake 2019), to making the case to prioritise new hires in archaeological science, we have gradually expanded our staff and capabilities in this area. A major change was 2018 when we had a major investment from the University in the Earthslides facility.
All of this has enabled us to attract and train PhD and postdoctoral researchers, many of whom have been funded by the AHRC Northern Bridge training partnership. We have been so successful in fact, that we were getting incredibly pushed for space, so I am absolutely delighted that we have been awarded a substantial grant from the AHRC to upgrade and expand our facilities. I am privileged to work with such a great team of researchers, who are all doing such fantastic work, that we were able to make a case for this investment. This has enabled us to purchase a fantastic suite of state of the art equipment as well as refurbish our existing space, create a dedicated instrument room for microscopy and spectroscopy, and refurbish a whole additional new lab dedicated for soils and related research. The Newcastle Material Culture Analytical Suite (NeMCAS) will enable us to build on our successes and train the next generation of archaeological and heritage science researchers, in collaboration with partners across the north east.
NeMCAS is based mainly in the archaeology labs on campus, with additional dedicated facilities at the Great North Museum. We are currently in the process of installing all the equipment, so watch this space for updates on new projects and collaborations, and if you are interested in using any of the kit, get in touch!