Laboratory of Archaeology

Autonomous Research and Teaching Unit

The Laboratory of Archaeology (LOA), created in 1949 as a research unit of the Department of Anthropology, cares for cultural heritage recovered from archaeological sites in British Columbia and around the world. Within its facilities in MOA, LOA houses collections; welcomes First Nations, researchers and students to the laboratories; and engages in public education about archaeology.

LOA works closely with BC First Nations to ensure respectful management of collections.  Artifacts are housed in LOA’s climate-controlled, secure storage areas until requested for research, repatriation, loan or care.  LOA’s artifact database feeds into the Reciprocal Research Network, making artifact descriptions along with images accessible for First Nation communities and researchers. First Nation community members visiting LOA may choose to carry out their work in the privacy of the Culturally Sensitive Research Room; researchers may work with collections in LOA labs — once relevant First Nations approvals are in place.

Archaeological research requires dedicated laboratories where specialists and students can analyze ancient materials and artifacts. Researchers at LOA have access to a number of labs. The Chemistry Lab specializes in isotope analysis to understand people’s diets and trade routes in the past.  The SEM Lab is a high quality imaging facility useful to specialists for characterizing lithic and ceramic materials. The Faunal/ Ethnobotany Lab provides comparative collections and work-stations for analysis of fish and animal bones, seeds, and plant remains.  The Lithics Lab includes a knapping area for experimental replication of ancient tool making practices.  Ceramics from around the world are studied and replicated in the Ceramics Research Laboratory.

If you are interested in visiting LOA please contact: