Soil micromorphology is a technique that allows the observation of undisturbed soil and sediment samples at various magnifications with instantaneous recognition of most constituent materials. Whole intact blocks of sediment or soil are removed from the stratigraphy and impregnated with resin. A slice is then cut from the block and ground to a standard thickness of 30μm. The thin section can be used for close examination of a wide range of questions presented by the stratigraphy. This is typically carried out on a petrological microscope with various controlled light sources. Both thin sections and impregnated blocks can also be examined using an electron microscope, which can resolve particles to submicron sizes (less than 0.001mm). If this is accompanied by use of a microprobe, it is also possible to get a full elemental analysis of material contained in tiny areas of the thin section.
archaeological object and site, anthropogenic object