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Reinforcement of the Research Capacities of the Spectroscopy laboratory for Archaeometry

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Advancing research capacities in archaeometry

Today, the very latest technology is required to study the oldest things. Advanced spectroscopy techniques, for example, are being used in the archaeological sciences to understand ancient civilisations. One EU project has created new regional research capacities in this exciting field.

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Archaeometry, also known as archaeological science, is now considered its own scientific field. It consists of the application of advanced techniques to the study of archaeological materials, generally the dating and other analysis of ancient materials. The principal objective of the EU-funded project 'Reinforcement of the research capacities of the spectroscopy laboratory for archaeometry' (FORCA Speclab) was to strengthen the capacity of Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), to carry out archaeological science. As part of the project, a so-called 'micro-Raman spectrometer' with an optical fibre probe was purchased and installed in the University's spectroscopy laboratory. Raman spectroscopy is used to observe vibrational, rotational and other low-frequency modes in a system. It is commonly used in chemistry and has recently been employed to study the make-up of archaeological materials. In addition, two young researchers worked and trained on non-destructive methods of analysis in archaeometry, in both EU and Western Balkan Countries' laboratories. An important part of the project was its targeted dissemination of knowledge, with special networking events being organised across the EU and neighbouring countries. Another key result was the establishment of a Balkan archaeometry database network. This was a milestone for the project, providing new means and facilities for cooperation among scientists, archaeologists, laboratories and conservation centres working in the field. Within a few months of its launch, this database network had already received a very positive response from scientists in the region and beyond. This important achievement will have a truly lasting impact, making FORCA Speclab a reference for future research cooperation.

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