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People working in the Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry LaboratoryInformatics Lab

Durham Informatics Lab is the main base in the department for landscape archaeology, spatial analysis, GIS and remote sensing-based approaches to the archaeological record. By working in the lab students can gain informal tuition in approaching spatial data, as well as in the software packages available. This is particularly valuable to students taking the Landscape Archaeology strand in the MA Archaeology programme.


Microscopy Lab

The dedicated microscopy research laboratory is for the use of all students, post-doctoral researchers, and staff undertaking research on archaeological materials, environmental samples, and artefacts. It is a growing facility.


Sample Prep Lab

The Sample Prep Lab is a dedicated laboratory for preparing archaeological artefacts and materials for analysis. This laboratory supports the work of the Durham Archaeomaterials Research Centre (DARC), and is regularly used by students, post-doctoral researchers, and staff conducting research on archaeological artefacts and materials. It also supports teaching and dissertation work for the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies, the MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects, and the MSc Bioarchaeology.

A person preparing samples in the DNA labModern DNA Lab

Once the DNA has been transformed into Illumina libraries or mixed with the PCR components it needs to be processed outside the ancient DNA facilities to prevent cross-contamination of newly extracted samples. In this lab, the DNA in PCR reactions is copied, and the Illumina libraries are quantified and amplified. This lab contains two separate rooms, one for extracting DNA from modern and forensic tissue and one for amplifying the DNA on PCR machines, running electrophoresis gels, preparing the DNA for sanger sequencing and quantifying and amplifying the libraries.


Environmental Arch Lab

This space is primarily used as a research space for students, post-doctoral researchers and staff working on zooarchaeological environmental and geoarchaeological projects.



The Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (SIBL) is equipped with mass spectrometers for the measurement of stable isotope ratios in geological, biological, archaeological and environmental samples. SIBL also has a range of supporting equipment for the preparation and characterisation of samples prior to isotopic analysis.

A person preparing samples in the Environmental Processing LabEnvironmental Processing Lab

This large space has a series of wet processing sinks complete with sediment traps for soil processing, in addition to several smaller sinks for artefact and ecofact washing. As well as wet processing facilities, this lab also contains dry sorting benches, storage spaces, and a drying oven. Both postgraduate students working on research projects and the environmental branch of Archaeological Services regularly use this lab.


Arch Science Lab

The Archaeological Science Laboratory is used by students, post-doctoral researchers, and staff, including Archaeological Services, for a wide range of geoarchaeological, archaeoentomological, archaeobotanical, and microbotoanical analyses, as well as the preparation of pollen samples. This laboratory supports teaching on the MSc Bioarchaeology, as well as the Geoarchaeological Services of the Durham Archaeomaterials Research Centre.


Archaeological Teaching Lab

We have a large teaching lab that is regularly used for practical classes as well as lectures and seminars. This lab also contains the X-ray equipment, which is made available to students for use in carrying out their research projects.

A person prepering equipment in the Luminescence Dating Research labLuminescence Dating Lab

The Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory is housed in a suite of five interconnected rooms, with full facilities for routine and developmental dating projects, and also fundamental research, including instrumentation development. It is available for use by project students and post-doctoral researchers undertaking chronometric research with archaeological/environmental samples and artefacts.


Kiln Lab

The Kiln Lab is the departmental computer suite and is available both for personal study and as a teaching room for archaeological tutorials.


Fenwick Human Osteology Lab

The Fenwick Human Osteology Laboratory, dedicated to the study of human remains from archaeological sites, was officially opened on the 28th June 2002 by John Fenwick, following a generous donation from the Fenwick Trust in 2002. it is now particularly used as a teaching space for students working towards an MSc in Human Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology, and also as a research space for PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

People carrying out sample preparation extraction in the Ancient DNA labAncient DNA Lab

The Archaeo-DNA Lab is dedicated to the sample preparation extraction and analysis of human and non-human DNA. The lab is equipped with a system of positive pressure, HEPA filters and UV lamps to prevent external DNA contamination.

The lab is accessed through a lobby area, where researchers change their clothes before starting the experimental process.


Conservation Lab

The teaching laboratory for the MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects course has the space and facilities required for educating and skilling 10 student conservators. Equipment and facilities include: air abrasion, freeze drying, X-radiography environmental monitoring, Oddy testing, moulding and casting.


Materials Analysis Lab

The Department of Archaeology’s Materials Analysis Laboratory is used by students, post-doctoral researchers and staff conducting research on a wide range of archaeological artefacts and materials. It is a cutting-edge facility that enables basic materials identification and compositional surveys of archaeological materials and artefacts, as well as detailed quantitative analyses.


Isotopes Lab

This laboratory consists of a suit of 3 rooms and is used by staff and students for the preparation of tooth and bone samples for Isotopic analysis.

Students prepare a fire in the Botanic Garden dedicated experimental areaBotanic Garden

The Durham Botanic Garden is located a 5 minute walk from the Archaeology Department. On the site we have a dedicated experimental area where we can carry out a range of experimental processes such as hearths and burning, smelting and flint knapping, as well as dedicated experimental crop planting and woodland management areas.