Affiliated Laboratories and Facilities
Cultural Heritage Laboratory
The Cultural Heritage laboratory was established to help facilitate and promote projects that revolve around the preservation and stewardship of cultural heritage, with a special focus on community-based collaborative work. The goal of the Cultural Heritage laboratory is to provide a center for hands-on training in all aspects of heritage stewardship, from initial background research and the development of collaborative partnerships, to the completion of research reports and public/educational materials. Laboratory participants have access to field equipment and computer resources that will assist them in their stewardship work, including equipment for the recording and documentation of ethnographic interviews and oral histories (digital voice recorders and video cameras), archaeological survey and mapping (Trimble handheld units and base station, GIS workstation), and the production of public documents and interpretive material (desk-top publishing, website development, video editing).
Ceramic Analysis Laboratory
Clay and ceramic materials from around the world are classified and analyzed through the operations of the Ceramic Analysis Research Lab and the Lithic & Ceramic Teaching Lab. We have the capacity to investigate the special properties of clay bearing soils, clays and fired ceramic materials. The significance of these materials within an archaeological or cultural framework is also considered. Students in the ceramic analysis course get hands-on experience with the scientific techniques and tools that make this research possible. Many students go on to expand their own research projects or assist with graduate student or faculty projects. Specialized equipment in these labs includes stereomicroscopes, petrographic microscopes, thin sectioning equipment, a large, programmable studio kiln, drying oven, custom metrical tools and a variety of hand-building and clay manipulation tools. We are also an official USDA Soils Lab, able to receive and analyze field clays and sediments collected from international sources.
Household Archaeology Laboratory
The Household Archaeology Lab specializes in chemical, sedimentary and microartifact (cultural particles smaller than 2mm in diameter) analyses. Smaller scale materials such as these constitute a significant part of the archaeological record, yet remain some of the most underutilized sources of information. Students will be trained in these techniques, learning how to interpret site matrixes and evaluate anthropogenically altered soils and microscopic materials related to floor and midden excavations.
Human and Primate Anatomy and Osteology Laboratory
The Anatomy and Osteology Teaching Labs and Physical Anthropology Research Labs conduct detailed investigations into human and primate anatomy and skeletal biology. On-going work in the labs prepares skeletons for the comparative osteology collections. Frequently we also undertake detailed explorations of primate anatomy. Supplementing the anatomical work are domestic beetle colonies and maceration tools that enhance the processing of animals into skeletons.
Monterey Bay Archaeology Archives
The Monterey Bay Archaeology Archives is a UC Office of the President recognized non-profit repository for archaeological materials from the greater Monterey Bay region. The collections are overseen by Professor Diane Gifford-Gonzalez and lab manager Richard Baldwin. The MBAA houses cultural materials from 12 prehistoric and historic sites in Santa Cruz County and over 60 prehistoric and historic sites in northern Monterey County. In addition to the actual archaeological materials, site excavation records, reports, and other documentary materials relevant to the sites are curated in perpetuity in the Archives. Most of the sites curated in the UCSC Archaeology Archives are from a region occupied by peoples of the Ohlone (also known as Costanoan) cultural group at the time of the first Spanish entry into the area. Sites from the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve are from lands attributed to Esselen or Salinan peoples at the time of Spanish contact. Other, historic archaeological materials derive from UCSC's own Cowell Limeworks Historic District. The collections are available to research scholars from other institutions whose projects contribute to local prehistory, and to undergraduate and graduate students from the University of California. An average of three scholars a year wish to come in and work with the collections or to check out specimens for laboratory analysis. Each request for access to the materials is screened by the curatorial staff for its appropriateness relative to standards of the Society of California Archaeology and Native American communities.
(Fehren-Schmitz, Anthropology, Green, Engineering, Shapiro, Physical and Biological Sciences)
The Paleogenomics Lab is a joint venture between three PIs: Beth Shapiro, Richard (Ed) Green and Lars Fehren-Schmitz. Their research focuses on a wide range of evolutionary and ecological questions, mostly involving the application of genomics techniques to better understand how species and populations evolve through time. Their groups incorporate experimental and computational approaches. They generate new data and devise new approaches to their analysis, such as tools to assemble genomes and to analyze genomic and population genetic data. Lab participant interests are broad, spanning human evolution, genome assembly and analysis, pathogen evolution, population genetics and the genomic consequences of long-term environmental change. To address these questions, we use experimental and computational technique such as DNA extraction, amplification and sequencing (including next-gen approaches), Phylogenetic and population genetic analysis, bioinformatic approaches to whole-genome analysis and multi-proxy (isotope, DNA diversity, paleobotanical records) paleoenvironmental reconstruction.
Spatial Archaeology Laboratory
Quantitative approaches to the analysis of spatial patterning have re-emerged in recent years as integral components of a wide range of modes of anthropological inquiry. The Spatial Analysis Laboratory provides state of the art research facilities for exploring spatial patterns across cultural landscapes at multiple scales of analysis. The facility boasts advanced laboratory and field research equipment, including six GIS workstations and peripherals, as well as a full complement of spatial technologies used in field survey (total station, Trimble GPS base station, and Trimble GPS handheld field computers), as well as 3D scanning for digital artifact analysis. Laboratory associates are engaged in a variety of projects designed to collect, analyze, and interpret spatial data from a broad range of cultural landscapes past and present. Past and current research projects undertaken by lab associates have examined urbanism and regional settlement practices in precolonial West Africa, ceramic production and exchange networks in precolonial West Africa, the nature of settlement defense and agricultural planning in Contact Era New Mexico, and economic networks linking precontact settlements in coastal California.
Stable Isotope Laboratory
(Koch, Earth and Planetary Sciences)
The University of California Santa Cruz Stable Isotope Laboratory (SIL) was established in 1994 with two Fisons Dual-Inlet isotope ratio mass spectrometers (the Optima and Prism III) equipped with automated common acid bath carbonate devices. This lab has been under the direction of PI's Christina Ravelo and Jim Zachos since its inception. In 1996, Paul Koch added a continuous flow Elemental Analyzer system to the Opitma and assumed a co-director role. To date, these instruments have generated over 95,000 analyses. In January of 2006 three new Thermo-Finnigan Delta+XP continuous flow mass spectrometer systems were installed in the SIL. This facility was funded by a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant involving the National Science Foundation, the UCSC Physical and Biological Sciences Division, and the UCSC Vice Chancellor of Research. This new facility offers greatly expanded research capabilities to scientists at research institutions that rim the Monterey Bay Crescent. UCSC faculty Christina Ravelo, Raphe Kudela and Matt McCarthy (Ocean Sciences), and Paul Koch (Earth and Planetary Sciences) are the primary directors of this new facility. In October of 2009, our trusty Optima was retired from service to make room for a new instrument. In November 2009, a ThermoFisher MAT253 isotope ratio mass spectrometer, coupled to a Kiel IV automated carbonate device was installed and shortly thereafter brought into regular service.
Zooarchaeology and Comparative Osteology Laboratory
The Zooarchaeology Lab sustains faculty and graduate research projects on a number of topics connected with human – animal interactions in central coastal California and East Africa. Recent and current projects include: collaboration on NSF–sponsored research on indigenous pyrodiversity practices in the Monterey Bay region, historical ecology of northern fur seals in the greater Monterey Bay, isotopic ecology and mobility practices of early African pastoralists in Kenya, experimental exploration of parameters of bone grease extraction, and two Honors Senior Theses on California archaeofaunal materials. The lab offers undergraduate internship opportunities every term, where students gain hands-on skills in assisting faculty, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in their research.