PACEA — De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie.

PACEA — De la Préhistoire à l’Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie. UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, CNRS.


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Online thin section library

by Frédéric Santos - published on

Coordinator: Alain Queffelec

Micromorphology is a technique for studying the microscopic organisation of undisturbed loose sediments and their components. The technique forms an integral part of multi-scale descriptive analyses that combine regional scale observations with those ranging from morphological or stratigraphical units and geological outcrops (or sections) to the microscopic or even ultramicroscopic.

Micromorphology is used in pedology, paleopedology, sedimentology and geoarchaeology. It essentially consists in observing thin sections cut from orientated blocks of resin impregnated sediments under a petrographic microscope and may be supplemented by specific staining techniques and / or observations under violet or ultraviolet light.

Several hundred thin sections are conserved in a purpose built cabinet that serves to both preserve archaeological samples and build a comprehensive reference collection.

The first objective of the library is to conserve these fragile and relatively bulky samples while making them available to the wider scientific community. These thin sections, which include major archaeological sites, are easily accessible and benefit from a long-term conservation in the best possible conditions.

The second objective builds on the first – allowing geoarchaeologists and micromorphologists access to a large variety of micromorphological evidence from an equally large variety of archaeological sites (e.g. caves, rockshelters, open-air sites, samples from experimental work in periglacial conditions).

Click here to access the online library: