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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PACEA-Transfert Sediment & Materials

par Alain Queffelec - publié le , mis à jour le

PACEA-Transfert offers a unique and comprehensive service in sedimentology and materials characterization for archaeology and Quaternary geology based on the methodological developments and expertise of PACEA research team.


PACEA-Transfert offers analytical services in sedimentology and material characterization related to archaeology and Quaternary geology. This service employ a technician that make most of the analyses and which is supervised by Alain Queffelec who make some of the analysis and can answer to your specific demands. We offer you our ten years experience in the field of geoarchaeological and archeometrical research.

Phone : +33 (0)
Mail :

List of services and pricing

Analysis Unit price (€)
private sector
(including commercial archaeology)
Unit price (€)
academic research
10% saving for 10+ samples
Laser diffraction particle sizing 50 40
Laser diffraction particle sizing + coarse grains 60 48
Micromorphological thin section 120 96
Petrographic thin section 40 32
Flint petrographic thin section 80 64
Heavy minerals preparation 40 32
Powder X-ray analysis 110 88
Raman spectroscopy (1/2 day) 200 160
Raman spectroscopy (sample) 40 32
Magnetic susceptibility 30 24
X-ray fluorescence Please contact us for feasibility and pricing
Confocal microscopy / interferometry Please contact us for feasibility and pricing
Return of samples after analysis 20

For any invoice or information please send this form to our team

Analysis description and results provided

Particle size analysis : The analysis is made with a Horiba LA-950 particle sizer. This machine allows for measurement of particle size distribution form 0.01 µm up to 2 mm (coarse grains can be measured by sieving). Results are rendered in a table including distribution frequencies data, cumulative frequencies and many other information (such as Skewness, Kurtosis, D10, D50, D90, %sand, %silt, %clay etc.). Vector graphics are also provided for each sample distribution and for the set of samples on a ternary plot. Multimodal decomposition is also calculated upon request. Complete description of the protocol is published in the Supplementary Information of Sitzia et al. (accepted).

Thin sections : LArge-format thin section of impregnated sediment are manufactured according to Guilloré (1980). We use polyester resin to impregnate undisturbed samples under vacuum. Classic petrographic thin section can also be impregnated if necessary. Thin section are covered with glass lamellae if no specific request. Service doesn’t include study of the thin section, such a study needing full knowledge of the site and its environment to be meaningful.

Heavy mineral preparation : Grains are selected by wet sieving followed by density separation thanks to sodium polytungstate solution (d = 2.90). Magnetic minerals are eliminated and the remaining grains are monted between slide and cover. Routinely selected fraction ranges between 80 and 120 µm. Every step of this protocol can be modified upon request. Service does not include mineral identification and counting. Help for determination by means of Raman spectroscopy can be considered on specific demand.

Powder X-ray diffraction : Sample is ground and sieved so that the analyzed powder is finer than 100 µm. Acquisition of the diffractogram is externalized. Service does include identification of mineral phases through the use of dedicated software and referential database. The report contains analyzed diffractogramms and the mineral list for each sample. Phase quantification by means of Rietveld refinement can be performed upon request.

Raman spectroscopy : Raman spectroscopy allows for the non-invasive identification of a large set of materials, including most minerals. This analysis requires discussions between the customer and the lab to establish feasibility and the billing mode to be used (by half-day or by sample). The report includes microphotographs, Raman spectra, and mineralogical determinations.

Magnetic susceptibility : Our service is equiped with a Bartington MS2B (and MS2F for field measurements) allowing for dual-frequency measurements of magnetic susceptibility. This method can be used to characterize magnetic particles size in the sample and help for interpretation about the source of these particles. In view of the potential complexity of signal interpretation, our service can only provide the measurement and some calculations but can not make a study based on these values. This needs knowledge of problematics, archaeological data and so on that only the geologist in charge of the study can achieve.

X-ray fluorescence : Analysis of a sample by means of X-ray fluorescence gives chemical composition information. However, despite the recent keen interest around this method, accuracy of measurements is not effortless and depends on a lot of parameters such as the material itself, its preparation, the available calibrations and so on. Therefore, it is necessary that customers discuss their needs with our lab. The results are given as a table of concentration or spectra or presence/absence depending on the previous discussion and on the samples. For some possible applications, please see our team research papers below.

Confocal microscopy / Interferometry : Our laboratory has high-performance Sensofar S-NEOX microscope capable of surface roughness measurements at meso and micro-scale. It allows for rugosimetric measurements such as dental microwear, cut-marks profilometry, traceology, taphonomy of artefact surface etc. This service is not automated, so please contact our lab to discuss how we may be able to meet your needs.


PACEA-Transfer relies on a strong link between academic research and service for the community of geoarchaeologists, paedologists, archeometrists : our community. Methods applied to your samples are the same as the ones used for the PACEA international research papers, as shown by these examples :

Equipments bibliography

Confocal microscopy, Spectrocolorimetry, PArticle size analysis
Rosso, D. E., d’Errico, F., & Queffelec, A. (2017). Patterns of change and continuity in ochre use during the late Middle Stone Age of the Horn of Africa : The Porc-Epic Cave record. PLOS ONE.

Petrographic thin sections, X-Ray Diffraction, Raman spectroscopy
Ferrier, C., Konik, S., Ballade, M., Bourdier, C., Chapoulie, R., Feruglio, V., Queffelec, A., & Jaubert, J. (2017). Cussac Cave (Dordogne, France) : The role of the rock support in the parietal art distribution, technical choices, and intentional and unintentional marks on the cave walls. Quaternary International.

Micromorphology, quantified X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Fluorescence
Royer, A., Malaizé, B., Lécuyer, C., Queffelec, A., Charlier, K., Caley, T. & Lenoble, A. (2017). A high-resolution temporal record of environmental changes in the Eastern Caribbean (Guadeloupe) from 40 to 10 ka BP. Quaternary Science Reviews.

Particle sizing, Micromorphology, X-Ray Fluorescence
Bertran, P., Allenet, G., Brenet, M., Chadelle, J.-P., Dietsch-Sellami, M.-F., Hébrard, J.-P., Madelaine, G., Mercier, N., Pasquet, V., Ponel, P., Queffelec, A., & Sirieix, C. (2016). Last Glacial palaeoenvironments at Lascaux, southwest France, with special emphasis on MIS 4 (Ognon II interstadial). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Raman spectroscopy, X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Fluorescence
d’Errico, F., Dayet Bouillot, L., García-Diez, M., Pitarch Martí, A., Garrido Pimentel, D., & Zilhão, J. (2016). The technology of the earliest European cave paintings : El Castillo Cave, Spain. Journal of Archaeological Science.

Particle sizing, quantified X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Fluorescence, Spectrocolorimetry
Rifkin, R. F., Dayet, L., Queffelec, A., Summers, B., Lategan, M., & d’Errico, F. (2015). Evaluating the Photoprotective Effects of Ochre on Human Skin by In Vivo SPF Assessment : Implications for Human Evolution, Adaptation and Dispersal. PLoS ONE.

Raman spectroscopy, X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Fluorescence
Dayet, L., d’Errico, F., & Garcia-Moreno, R. (2014). Searching for consistencies in Châtelperronian pigment use. Journal of Archaeological Science.

Particle sizing, Raman spectroscopy
Schneider, J.-L., Chagué-Goff, C., Bouchez, J.-L., Goff, J., Sugawara, D., Goto, K., Jaffe, B., & Richmond, B. (2014). Using magnetic fabric to reconstruct the dynamics of tsunami deposition on the Sendai Plain, Japan — The 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami. Marine Geology.

Micromorphology, X-Ray Diffraction, Magnetic susceptibility
Ajas, A., Bertran, P., Lemée, L., & Queffelec, A. (2013). Stratigraphy and Palaeopedology of the Palaeolithic Cave Site of Combe-Saunière, Southwest France. Geoarchaeology.

Micromorphology, X-Ray Fluorescence
Bertran, P., Frouin, M., Mercier, N., Naessens, F., Prodeo, F., Queffelec, A., Sirieix, C., & Sitzia, L. (2013). Architecture of the lower terraces and evolution of the Dordogne River at Bergerac (south-west France) during the last glacial–interglacial cycle. Journal of Quaternary Science.

Raman spectroscopy
Peresani, M., Vanhaeren, M., Quaggiotto, E., Queffelec, A., & d’Errico, F. (2013). An Ochered Fossil Marine Shell From the Mousterian of Fumane Cave, Italy. PLoS ONE.

More examples of our expertise

Specific requests

Upon request, it is possible to offer more specific services. We indeed dispose of skills, knowledge and equipments allowing for less routine analyzes. You can find for example the description fo our equipments here, here and there.

These specific request can for example be coarse granulometry, FT-IR analyzes, cementochronology thin sections etc. Please feel free to contact us.

PACEA is also equiped with a microscanner and a complete set up for conventional radiology that can also be of interest for you.