The Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies (CIAS)

CIAS engages in innovative research, teaching and public engagement in the field of artefact studies, disseminating its work to the widest possible audience using a range of media. In particular CIAS provides:

  • a focus for developing major externally-funded collaborative and interdisciplinary artefact based research projects
  • expert consultancy, including externally commissioned report writing and artefact identification for museums, fellow academics (within the University and externally), field units, English Heritage and other government organizations, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and consultancies
  • a base for research postgraduates and post-doctoral researchers, supporting their work by providing expertise and analytical services
  • a focus for the diverse range of experts the University employs in this area: staff in International Centre for Culture and Heritage Studies, Culture Lab, Portable Antiquities Scheme Officers and experts within Tyne and Wear Museums
  • outstanding hands-on undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, using the University's museum collections and the very latest research - ensuring a new generation of artefact specialists
  • expert short courses (Master Classes) to non-HEI users and foreign students, through combined handling and internet-based elements

For more information please visit the CIAS website.

Material Skills Workshops 2015

Lithic Analysis - Monday 1st June
Course Leader – Dr Rob Young
This workshop introduces students to British prehistoric lithic (stone tool) technology, exploring the chronology and typology of stone tools from their earliest use by humans in Britain to the end of the Iron Age. It will highlight key themes in the contemporary interpretation of stone tools and their function(s), and will take a hands-on approach to techniques of lithic assemblage analysis and the production and use of artefact reports.

Roman and Byzantine Coinage – Tuesday 2nd June, cancelled
Course Leader – Dr James Gerrard
This workshop is designed for archaeologists with no (or very little) training or experience of working with Roman and early Byzantine coins. You will have the opportunity to handle genuine Roman and Byzantine coins and be provided with the skills to begin to identify and interpret these coins archaeologically.

The Digital Illustration of Archaeological CeramicsWednesday 3rd June
Course Leader –Maria Duggan
This practical course will offer an introduction to the production of digital illustrations of archaeological ceramics for publication. It will introduce basic techniques in the use of vector graphics software – specifically Adobe Illustrator CS6 – to produce simple 2D line illustrations. The course is intended for those without previous experience of digital illustration, although familiarity with archaeological ceramics and pottery illustration by hand would be beneficial.

Metalwork Use-wear AnalysisThursday 4th June
Course Leader – Dr Andrea Dolfini
The course provides a hands-on introduction to the use-wear analysis of metal objects, focusing in particular on prehistoric copper alloys. Use-wear analysis enables the recognition, evaluation, and interpretation of the marks visible on ancient and historic metalwork by observation and optical microscopy. It may yield tremendous insights into the life-cycle of objects including their manufacture, use, repair, deposition, and post-depositional history. The course comprises a short theoretical introduction to prehistoric copper-alloy technology and use-wear analysis, followed by hands-on sessions in which participants will learn how to observe, record, and interpret the marks visible on original prehistoric bronzes (in particular axe-heads and swords). The course does not require any background knowledge in materials science or optical microscopy.

Human OsteologyFriday the 5th June
Course Leader - Dr Tori Park
This course is aimed at those working in field archaeology wanting in improve their knowledge, recent graduates wanting to add to their skill set, and those with a more general interest in archaeology wanting to learn more about osteology. The course will involve hands-on practical sessions, developing participants’ practical and theoretical knowledge of human osteology. The knowledge and skills gained will aid in the excavation and post excavation care of human remains.