Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art

Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art

The Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA) is an key part of the School of Archaeology, with the laboratories and other facilities to support research involving the use of scientific methods within Archaeology.  Founded in 1955, it played a key role in pioneering scientific approaches in interdisciplinary research, and today provides a unique environment for state-of-the-art research in this area.

The main laboratories and study areas for graduate students of Archaeological Science are based in the Dyson Perrins building, adjacent to the Departments of Earth Sciences and Geography, with which there are close ties and some shared facilities.  Just across the road in 1 South Parks Rd, are the seminars and teaching space for Masters students in Archaeological Science.  The RLAHA includes the following main elements:

  • The Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), including an MICADAS AMS for radiocarbon measurement, associated sample pre-treatment facilities, compound specific analysis facilities (HPLC, GC-MS, SFE/SFC).
  • The Wellcome Trust Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network  (PalaoBARN) is based here, with its specially built ancient DNA facility in another building nearby.
  • The Bioarchaeology laboratory, including access to chemical preparation areas and facilities for stable isotope analysis.
  • Tephrochronology facilities including an electron microprobe and dedicated laboratory for the preparation of crypto-tephra samples.
  • The Luminescence Laboratory, with facilities for Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating and for research into novel luminescence techniques.
  • Materials analysis laboratories with the facilities to use many different techniques (SEM, light microscopy, XRF) for the study of a whole range of archaeological materials.

The RLAHA is there to provide a suitable environment for anything from large research projects to student projects. It is also central to our teaching in Archaeological Science.

List of site pages