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.

Nos tutelles


Nos partenaires

notre labex


Accueil du site > Resources & services > Technical areas


par Frédéric Santos - publié le

Since 1996, PACEA’s radiology laboratory has been equipped with 2 electric X-ray generators. The ability to produce in-house X-rays is fundamental to the different types of research carried out at the lab (dissertations, publication, presentations, excavations reports).

Coordinator : Maryelle Bessou

The PACEA radiology facility works in collaboration with the Regional Archaeology Service, public and private rescue archaeology institutions, and local archaeology services. X-rayed materials can be purely osteological (bones and teeth), but also metal, ceramic or wooden artefacts (e.g. art, weapons, jewellery, tools, instruments). These non-invasive imaging techniques produce more detailed analyses of osseous material, with ionizing radiation able to detect particularities or lesions on bone and teeth that are invisible to the naked eye. Different radiographic analyses help produce a better understanding of the health and social life of prehistoric populations :

  • age-at-death estimates for non-adult individuals based on dental eruption patterns (tooth germs and roots in the mandible or maxilla)
    Estimation de l'âge au décès d'un sujet immature à partir de l'étude de la maturation dentaire.
    Estimation de l’âge au décès d’un sujet immature à partir de l’étude de la maturation dentaire.
    Ici : 2 – 4 ans.
  • identification of non-metrical anatomic variations
  • identification of traumatic pathologies. In the case of fractures, their origin, orientation and consolidation processes can be evaluated
  • reveal evidence for pathologies or non-specific stress indicators in internal bone structure (e.g. Harris lines on long bone extremities)
  • Comparative morphoscopic and morphological analyses of modern and fossil humans is equally possible.

Radiography is also a non-photographic means for preserving osseous material at risk of destruction during sampling for dating or palaeogenetic analyses.

Additionally, X-rays of archaeological objects serve both prior to (e.g. restoration, conservation, assessment of potential museographic and or scientific interest, inform conservation protocols, save time) and during analysis (e.g. identification of manufacturing techniques, revealing the content of sealed objects, visualising fractures, previous restoration attempts, internal elements of metal armatures or specific fittings).

For additional information, contact Maryelle Bessou.


Plaque avant restauration (Jau Dignac-et-Loirac).
Radiographie d’une plaque-boucle avant restauration (Jau Dignac-et-Loirac)
Radiographie d’une plaque-boucle avant restauration (Jau Dignac-et-Loirac)
Plaque restaurée
Lignes de Harris
Indicateurs de stress non spécifiques.