As in all scientific research fields, today’s archaeology laboratory is quite different than counterparts from past decades. Technologies such as ground penetrating radar and magnetic gradiometry allow investigators to understand the geology and burial processes at an archaeological site and detect subsurface remains prior to inherently destructive excavation. In cases where excavation is appropriate, archaeological finds are digitally recorded in context and mapped using sophisticated instruments such as electronic total stations in combination with spatial software packages. Once recovered artifacts and soil samples reach the Archaeology Laboratories, geochemistry and mineralogy studies yield critical data about past environments and climates. Microscopy and analytical chemistry reveal remarkable details about artifacts such as the function of stone tools or the past contents of a now-empty pottery vessel. Geographic Information System (GIS) and other software platforms reconstruct archaeological sites and the past landscape settings for human activities and serve as the foundation for analysis of broader interactions between humans and their environment. Particularly important sites, architectural remains, or objects can be scanned and recreated by software in three dimensions, with artifact replicas printed for research and education purposes. The recovered archaeological collections and associated data must then be stabilized, cataloged, and conserved for future research and to meet long-term preservation standards. Through the Wake Forest University Archaeology Laboratory, student, faculty, and community research teams work together in applying contemporary research methods to our understanding of the human past.
Geophysical Prospection and Near-Surface Geophysics
Archaeological Survey and Excavation
Sedimentology, Mineralogy, and Soil Analysis
Experimental and Replication Studies