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International Workshop on Archaeology Soil Micromorphology and Phytoliths Analysis (WASM) 2022

6 - 8 July, 2022, Paris, France


Micromorphology deals with the microscopic properties of sediments and soils on the microscale. The International Workshop on Archaeology Soil Micromorphology and Phytoliths Analysis (WASM) provides an annual and international opportunity for micromorphologists of all generations to exchange knowledge about the diverse phenomena and processes that are made visible in soil or sediment thin sections under the microscope. A reliable micromorphological analysis requires a lot of experience. WASM offers especially young scientists like me the opportunity to gain more experience by studying the samples of colleagues, getting first-hand knowledge and discuss your own material. I received a lot of helpful feedback on my samples, learned to recognise new micromorphological phenomena, and how to interpret them correctly. I also got encouraged to focus thematically on certain aspects of the archaeological stratigraphy, which will help me to improve the structure of my workflow. There were many microscope stations to discuss in detail the samples brought along, and a microscope with a camera that made it possible to discuss specific phenomena in a larger group. Besides the practical part, there was also a conference part with inspiring talks from various special fields of micromorphology and a poster session in which I contributed.
The presented poster summarised the research for my first PhD paper on the application of machine learning in micromorphology. As this is a highly innovative approach in this field it was a unique opportunity to discuss the topic with experts and possible future users of my method. Listening to their perspective, some methodological feedback and constructive criticism helped me a lot to refine my paper. After a long time, it was also a great experience to visit Paris again and to discover fantastic restaurants with great colleagues. I would not have wanted to miss this, and I am grateful that the GSGS Training & Networking Grant made it possible.


Mirijam Zickel
PhD student
Institute of Geography
PhD project: “Landscape reconstruction and micromorphological analysis of the Bronze Age Toboliu Tell sediments and surroundings in Romania” 
Presentation title: “MiGIS – Digital analysis of thin section scans using GIS and Machine Learning: Bronze Age tell floors of Toboliu (Romania) ”