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Artifacts on display at the Penn Museum

Photo: Mariana Gonzalez / The Daily Pennsylvanian

A new center on Penn’s campus will allow students and faculty to study nearly any type of archaeology they want.

The Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, which opened in the Penn Museum  this semester, will offer new laboratories and equipment — including a room specifically for X-rays and photography — to undergraduate and graduate students studying archaeology.

“Food and Fire: Archaeology in the Laboratory” is an introductory course in archaeology meant to expose freshmen to the center’s eight disciplines: archaeobotany, the study of ancient plants; archaeometallurgy, the study of prehistoric metal use; archaeozoology, the study of ancient animals; ceramics, conservation, digital archaeology, human skeletal analysis and lithics.

“We’ve always encouraged students to do research projects in the [Penn] Museum, but the CAAM initiative has focused attention on what beginning students can do and the different ways that they could use archaeological science to develop new skills,” said professor Katherine Moore , the seminar’s instructor.

Any student — graduate or undergraduate — will be able to concentrate in subjects offered through the center, and can apply for independent study.

“Penn students come in with great science backgrounds but they rarely have had a chance to use them in such a unique setting,” Moore said. “Literally everyone in the Penn Museum, from the Director to the Facilities staff, is reimagining what it means to make our incredible resources into important experiences for students.”

Another goal the center has is to build an online presence: The center hopes to offer all of its courses online within the next several years.

The Penn Museum will be holding a public open house for the center on Oct. 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in celebration of International Archaeology Day. Students are encouraged to attend and explore the new laboratories, as well as hear about the new initiatives made possible by the Center.

Near Eastern Languages professor Steve Tinney will serve as deputy director of CAAM. Tinney could not be reached for comment as of publication time.

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