About Us

The Archaeomaterials Group, at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering operating in close collaboration with the UCLA/Getty Conservation IDP and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology was established to assist in archaeological research of anthropological significance, to promote innovative research in ancient materials and technologies and to develop synergistic activities and sharing of knowledge among universities and museums.

Courses offered through the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and selected courses from theUCLA/Getty Conservation Program as well as supervised research contacted through the Molecular and Nano Archaeology Laboratory by the faculty members and researchers of the Archaeomaterials Group in the field of study and conservation of material culture offers opportunities for advanced education and training of young researchers in archaeological and conservation science.

The Archaeomaterials Research Group and the Molecular and Nano Archaeology Laboratory focuses on three principle scientific pursuits:

  • Archaeometry, integrating the scientific analysis of material culture based on the application of natural sciences, geosciences and reverse engineering processing, with its anthropological, archaeological, art historical, and cultural significance.
  • Conservation Science, studying the relation between microstructure and properties of material culture and understanding the kinetics and mechanisms of alterations induced by anthropogenic, environmental and diagenetic processes to determine suitable conservation treatments and the development of new conservation materials.
  • Forensics and Criminalistics, collecting and analyzing physical evidence in the field and in the laboratory using advanced and innovative technologies in a law enforcement setting. 
Main research areas of the Archaeomaterials Group
  • Advanced Research and Development of non-invasive and non-destructive methods (field-deployable and bench instrumentation) for the examination and analysis of archaeological materials.
  • Investigations in ancient technologies of paint-glaze ceramics, synthetic pigments, mural paintings, rock art, glass, metal, dyes and composite artifacts.
  • Authentication and provenance studies in a law enforcement setting.
  • Studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of deterioration of ancient materials.
  • Synthesis and engineering of new biomimetic materials to mitigate the decay of ancient artifacts.
Dissemination of research results
  • Results from research projects and collaborative activities are published in peer-reviewed journals and in conference and specialized workshop proceedings.
  • The group organizes seminars open to students, faculty and staff designed to present work in progress and establish forum discussions and exchange.

Facilities
The Archaeomaterials Group has a well-equipped laboratory (the Molecular and Nano Archaeology Laboratory) and also uses scientific facilities and equipment of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program (Getty Villa), the Getty Conservation Institute (Getty Center), LACMA, the Earth and Space Science at UCLA and the ALS facility at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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