Digital Microscopy Laboratory
The Digital Microscopy Laboratory at TARL houses an array of instruments for the documention and analysis of the use-wear patterns of lithic artifacts. This is a key area of research in contemporary archeology, and the TARL facility provides state of the art equipment combined with carefully planned research programs.
Use-wear analysis is interpretive in nature. The analysis is accomplished within the framework of research questions that are integrated into the overall research design considering all lines of evidence. Statistical analysis techniques ranging from simple descriptive statistics to multivariate grouping techniques are available if required.
The lab uses a research-grade Olympus microscope capable of magnifications to 200 diameters. The microscope is equipped with Normarski reflected-light differential-interference contrast optics that use divisions of polarized light to allow three-dimensional views of the tool surfaces. Its adjustable stage enables large artifacts, up to 11 centimeters in height, to be analyzed. Attached to the microscope is a video camera that is interfaced with a computer producing digital photomicrography. This allows the images to be stored in a computer database program and/or analyzed using software which provides image enhancement and measurement capability.
The above photo shows an example of well developed plant polish on a utilized flake from 41BX379 at 200X magnification.
Examples of recent microwear research carried out at the TARL Digital Microscopy Laboratory include:
The Digital Microscopy Laboratory is available for subcontracts involving use-wear projects in cultural resource management or other funded research projects. For more information and price quotes, contact Marilyn Shoberg at (512) 475-5960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.