archaeology & Quaternary Research laboratory

The Archaeology & Quaternary Research Laboratory (AQRL) is a unit of the Department of Earth & Environmental Systems at Indiana State University. The Laboratory, directed by C. Russell Stafford (PhD), is one of four major university based research facilities conducting archaeological investigations in Indiana. 

Established in 1966 by Robert Pace as the Anthropology Laboratory, the primary mission of the Laboratory is to:

  • provide undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on experience in archaeology,
  • conduct research in the prehistory and Quaternary landscapes of  southern Indiana, and
  • provide services for federally mandated cultural resource management (CRM) projects.

The Laboratory conducts projects throughout Indiana. Experienced graduate and undergraduate students also participate in field and laboratory work. Laboratory personnel have special expertise in Geoarchaeology and subsurface reconnaissance studies, but conduct CRM projects of all types. Graduate students in the Earth & Quaternary Sciences MS program participate in research conducted by the lab.

The Laboratory has equipment and vehicles to conduct a wide range of field work, including large scale survey, subsurface reconnaissance, test excavations, and data recovery projects. AQRL has dry and wet laboratory facilities covering 2000 square feet, located in Holmstedt Hall Rooms 003, 15 (maps & records) and 105, that are used for processing, stabilizing, and analyzing archeological materials and sediments recovered from the field. Additional laboratory space for artifact analysis and solid sediment core descriptions is located the basement of Root Hall.

Equipment includes two 4WD vehicles, a Giddings trailer-mounted soil probe, a Geoscan FM-36 fluxgate gradiometer, GSSI SIR-3000 Ground Penetrating Radar (400 Mhz antenna), CILAS Laser Diffraction Particle Analyzer, Bartington MS2 Magnetic Susceptibility System, WinIntel workstations with ArcMap 9.3, MS SQL Server with ArcSDE, large format HP DesignJet 800 ink-jet printer, Xerox solid ink 8550N Phaser color printer, HP high-resolution scanner, large-format digitizing tablet, Zeiss Stemi 2000 Stereomicroscopes, Topcon Total Station, Pentax Rotating Laser Levels, FLOTE-TECH flotation tanks, Trimble GeoXT & GeoExplorer3 GPS, and digital cameras.

As a State recognized curation facility, AQRL holds site survey records and collections on over 5000 sites and excavated remains from more than 20 sites, mostly from western and southern Indiana. Research collections are especially strong in Archaic (Bluegrass site, Caesars Archaeological Project) and Middle Woodland (Allison-LaMotte) excavation and survey materials.  Collections are housed in a 2100 square foot facility in the basement of Root Hall.