Welcome to 

the University of Tulsa's 

Surface Metrology and Tribology Lab

The focus of research in the laboratory of surface metrology and tribology is the analysis of use-wear patterns on a wide range of archaeological materials, including but not limitied to materials as dental enamel, bone, lithics and ceramics. 


Our current research projects include the reconstruction of paleoenvironments during the evolution of the Genus Homo in Africa and western Asia, the extinction of the Neanderthals in the Southern Levant and the emergence of modern humans.

The main methods we employ include using rodent and ungulate paleodiet as proxies for environmental diachronic and synchronic change. We study tooth-wear and -shape as a proxy for paleodiet.

Our methodological approach includes the study of dental topography, mesowear and dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) that applies 3D optical profiling combined with scale-sensitive fractal analysis and geographic information systems software.

Our lab includes a state-of-the-art Sensofar 3D non-contact optical 3D profiler, a S-Neox, which includes a high-resolution CCD sensor of up to 1360x1024 pixels in combination with high-resolution displays of 2560x1440. In addition, the lab includes a NextEngine 3D laser Scanner with a 0.005-inch accuracy, and a high-resolution 2D scanner flatbed Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner with a resolution of 4800 dpi and 6400 dpi (Epson Dual Lens System). Our workstation includes Toothfrax and Sfrax software from Surfract (Surface meteorology and fractal analysis), which allows for analysis of the data in Scale Sensitive Fractal Analysis (SSFA).


The laboratory fosters collaborations among researchers at many institutions across the US and abroad specifically professors Michael Keller (Department of Mechanical Engineering, TU); Scott Holmstrom  (Physics Department, TU); Anne Weil, department of Cell and Anatomy at The Oklahoma State University, Center for Health Sciences; and Robert Pickering at the Gilcrease Museum.