Participants in the 2013 Petrography Workshop

Participants in the 2013 Petrography Workshop

Unfortunately, this class has been canceled.

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) and The Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD) in the University of Delaware’s School of Public Policy and Administration are partnering to host a two-day hands-on workshop on the uses of polarized light microscopy for the study of stone and ceramic cultural materials.  The workshop will be held March 11-12, 2014 at the NCPTT in Natchitoches, LA.

Polarized light microscopy of stone and ceramics, known as thin-section petrography, is a crucial tool for the study of ancient and historic objects and building materials. The technique is used to identify materials and their possible sources, understand production technology and object functions, study deterioration mechanisms, and assess preservation strategies and conservation treatments. However, specialized expertise is required to use this technique effectively.  Preservation professionals, including conservation scientists, conservators, and archeologists, will benefit from this workshop.  Students studying or interested in conservation are welcome.

The lead instructor for the workshop is Dr. Chandra L. Reedy, a professor in CHAD and director of the laboratory. The workshop builds on her 2008 book, Thin-Section Petrography of Stone and Ceramic Cultural Materials, with Archetype Publications, London.  (The book was the product of a successful Preservation Technology and Training Grant from NCPTT.)  The workshop will begin with an introduction to polarized light microscopy as a method for identifying minerals. Subsequent sessions will focus on analysis of cultural materials made of stone (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and on pottery, terracotta sculptures, bricks, tiles, and clay core materials from bronze castings.

The workshop is open to 20 participants.  The cost of the workshop is $299.
If students of the class are interested they can buy Dr. Reedy’s book Thin-Section Petrography of Stone and Ceramic Cultural Materials at a reduced fee during registration. The book is not needed for the class only an option.

Travel Information

Getting to Natchitoches, Participants can fly either to Alexandria International Airport, Alexandria, LA or to Shreveport Regional Airport, Shreveport, LA. Rental cars are available at both airports, please contact Jason Church if you are interested in a possible pick-up at the airport.

There are a number of Bed and Breakfasts and hotels in Natchitoches a list can be found at; . Many of the B&B’s are within walking distant of NCPTT which is located at 645 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA.

For more information contact Jason Church,  Registration is open through February 28, 2014.(Please note this class sold out early last time)

March 11, 2014

Day 1: Classroom is lecture hall of Lee H. Nelson Hall (645 University Parkway Natchitoches, LA 71457)

9:00 – 10:00

Participant views a pottery thin-section.

Participant views a pottery thin-section.

Making petrographic thin sections
Mineral properties visible in plane polarized light

Mineral properties visible in crossed polarized light

11:00 – 12:00
Identifying the most commonly-occurring minerals

12:00 – 1:00

1:00 – 2:00
Igneous stone materials (volcanic and plutonic)

2:00 – 3:00
Sedimentary stone materials

3:00 – 3:30
Coffee break

3:30 – 4:30
Metamorphic stone materials

4:30 – 5:00
Review and discussion

March 12, 2014

Day2:Classroom is lecture hall of Lee H. Nelson Hall (645 University Parkway Natchitoches, LA 71457)

9:00 – 10:30
Analyzing Ceramics , Part 1: Low-fired wares (earthenwares) and their inclusions (sand, lithics, calcium carbonates, organic material, grog)

10:30 – 12:00
Analyzing Ceramics: High-fired wares (stonewares and porcelains)

12:00 – 1:00

1:00 – 2:45
Identifying pottery fabrication methods (clay processing choices and paste characteristics, forming methods, firing conditions, decoration and surface/clay body interfaces)

2:45 – 3:15
Coffee break

3:15 – 4:45
Nonpottery ceramic and clay materials (clay sculptures and molded or stamped objects, bricks, terracotta and stonepaste/fritware tiles, and clay core materials)

4:45 – 5:00

Final wrap-up and discussion

With notice refunds are available up to 30 days prior to the start of training (minus the processing charge). Within 15 days for training refunds are not available. NCPTT reserves the right to cancel any event 30 days prior to the event if registration is not significant to cover costs. Please wait on making travel plans until 30 days prior or contact NCPTT to see if cancellation is a considered option.

Shell tempered pottery section

Shell tempered pottery section

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119