Artefact Profiling Laboratories
The study of written artefacts requires technical equipment that suits the objects’ characteristics and needs, their location, and the kind of research question and analysis intended. A threefold laboratory system will support the Cluster’s study of written artefacts both in Hamburg and abroad, in museums and archives, and in the field.
Its first component is a portable Mobile Lab for worldwide non-invasive analyses of written artefacts. The Mobile Lab operates frequently across Europe and beyond, featuring, amongst other equipment, XRF-spectrometers, a multispectral imaging system and FTIR spectroscopy. Secondly, the Cluster uses the highly effective stationary High Performance Labs at Universität Hamburg, the TUHH and at DESY. These too fulfil the highest technological standards and are continually updated, including, for example, a dust-free cleanroom that is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of ancient DNA and with a laser-coupled HR-ICP-MS as the most recent addition. Eventually, a modular Container Lab will fill the gap between high performance and in situ analysis using portable equipment. It will be equipped with specific problem-oriented lab cells and with the required materials for both non-invasive and micro-invasive material analyses. This lab also will harbor a custom CT scanner that can be brought to collections and museums around the world and will be able to reconstruct, for instance, clay-wrapped clay tablets with cuneiform writing and recover their writing non-destructively. The container lab also provides lab space for emergency conservation and preservation measures and onsite training of staff, allowing for invasive and minimally-invasive sample preparation (e.g. with ablation laser technologies).