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Our Lab

The Archaeological Science Lab includes three laboratories in the Stanford Archaeology Center, at Stanford University, California. Our lab features five light microscopes for analyzing various archaeological remains, including two Zeiss transmitted microscopes for micro-botanical study (phytoliths and starch grains), a Zeiss reflected microscope for use-wear observations, a Zeiss stereo microscope for analyzing macro-botanical remains and use-wear traces, and an Olympus metallographic microscope for ceramic petrographic research. We have a portable X-ray Fluorescence device for chemical analysis both in the lab and in the field. We also collaborate with the archaeological lab of the Institute of Archaeology, CASS, located in Luoyang, China, for sample preparation and on-site analysis. 


We have collected more than 1200 modern botanical specimens from China and other parts of the world for study of ancient plant remains. We have conducted a series of experimental studies on food processing and preparation, such as grinding foodstuffs with grinding stones, and making fermented beverages with various plants. The results of these experiments have also helped generate a comparative database to assist our study of ancient food remains.



Zeiss Axio Imager. A2m can be used for simple documentation, measurement, and analysis in materials that do not require motorization. Encoded components allow communication between the microscope, AxioCam camera, and ZEN core imaging software, keeping track of the objective, calibration, optical technique, tube lens, lighting parameters, and motorized X/Y stage parameters and coordinates. 

Zeiss Axio

Imager. A2m


Nikon SMZ18 features a large zoom ratio of 25:1, high resolution and exceptional fluorescence transmission capability to respond to increasing demand for imaging systems that span spatial scales from single cells to whole organisms..

Nikon SMZ18

Zeiss SteREO Discovery V20.jpg

ZEISS SteREO Discovery.V20 stereo microscope has a 20:1 zoom range that is capable of going from the largest overview of your sample to the smallest details of your sample - up to 345x total magnification with a 10x eyepiece. View your samples in brilliant three dimensional images with excellent depth perception and resolution with a maximum resolution of up to 1000 LP/mm. 

Zeiss SteREO Discovery.V20


Nikon Eclipse E200 features exceptionally bright and uniform LED illumination and Nikon's high-quality optics. Ergonomic and anti-mold design ensures years of comfortable and stable use.

Nikon Eclipse E200 

with Point Counting Stage

Zeiss Axio Scope A1.jpg

ZEISS Axio Scope.A1 is a highly modular compound microscope. Its transmitted light beam path ensures sharp image contrasts. It is capable of brightfield, darkfield, phase contrast, differential interference contrast (DIC) and ZEISS’s economical alternative, PlasDIC.

Zeiss Axio

Scope. A1


Handheld X-ray fluorescent (XRF) analyzers have the capability to quantify or qualify nearly any element from Magnesium to Uranium, depending on specific instrument configurations

Portable X-ray Fluorescence


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