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DCH 423: Synchrotron Radiation (SR)- Enabled Research in Heritage Sciences & Archaeology

Course Title

Synchrotron Radiation (SR)-enabled Research in Heritage Sciences & Archaeology

Course Code

DCH 423

Course Type




Year / Semester

1st / 2nd (Subject to change)

Instructor’s Name

Kirsi Lorentz (Lead Instructor), Charalambos Chrysostomou



Lectures / week

1 (1h)

Laboratories / week

1 (2h)

Course Purpose and Objectives

The course will explore SR enabled approaches to Heritage and Archaeology from a critical perspective, detailing its main scientific challenges, research methodology, theory and practice. It will detail fundamentals in the characterization and interpretation of tangible remains of the past through SR-XRF, SR-XANES, SR-EXAFS, SR-IR and SR-phase contrast microCT, as well as outline the necessary prior laboratory analyses before any proposal for SR beamtime can be submitted. Each SR approach relevant to Heritage and Archaeology will be presented in detail, along with a critical analysis of cost and time-efficiency, invasiveness and contribution to advance the domain.

Learning Outcomes

Students will gain knowledge on key components and structure of SR enabled research, how to choose the most suitable techniques and methods of inquiry for achieving the research goals and how to perform such SR research in a multi-disciplinary and collaborative team environment. At the end of the course students will be able to identify the most suited SR methods for the characterization, high-resolution elemental mapping, and micro- or nanometer scale imaging of tangible remains of the past.


DCH 422

 Requirements  -

Course Content

Setting-up an analytical research protocol including laboratory-based characterization prior to SR measurements, research design for SR beam-time, digital SR data analysis tools and paths.

Teaching Methodology

Lectures, laboratory work


  1. Janssens, K. Synchrotron Radiation in Art and Archaeology.
  2. Creagh, D. Chapter 1: Synchrotron Radiation and its Use in Art, Archaeometry, and Cultural Heritage Studies.
  3. Bertrand, L. Chapter 2: Synchrotron Imaging for Archaeology, Art History, Conservation, and Palaeontology.
  4. Le Cabec, A., Tang, N., Tafforeau, P. Accessing Developmental Information of Fossil Hominin Teeth Using New Synchrotron Microtomography-Based Visualization Techniques of Dental Surfaces and Interfaces


75% exam; 25% coursework



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