Dr Karen Louise Privat

Research Associate (SEM-based Imaging & Microanalysis)

Category: Academic Staff
Research profile: Click to view



Major responsibility for managing research and training on the JEOL JXA-8500F Hyperprobe (EPMA), training and support across SEM & EDS platforms, and additional support for various instruments.


Archaeological Science - palaeodietary & palaeoenvironmental reconstruction via stable isotope analysis of floral and faunal remains; chemical analysis of artefacts using microscopy-based techniques (e.g. EPMA).

Additional active collaborations in Geology and Materials Science & Engineering

Public outreach and integration of art & science - participation in Ku-ring-gai Art+Science project and exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum (December 2016-February 2017)

My Research Activities

Archaeological Science:

  • EPMA analysis of glass vessels to investigate raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and trade/exchange mechanisms
  • SEM (& EDS) examination of ceramic vessel body and glaze morphology and composition to examine firing methodology, raw material sourcing and manufacturing logistics
  • Palaeodietary and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction via light stable isotope analysis of faunal and floral remains



  • Reconstruction of formation processes and investigation of economic viability of deposits via EPMA analysis (collaborations with Graham group, UNSW School of BEES)


Materials Science & Engineering:

  • Development and characterisation of new industrial materials using waste streams as source components (collaborations with UNSW SMaRT Centre)
  • Mentor, SEM-EDS trainer and collaborator with students from Bassman group (Harvey Mudd College, USA) via US National Science Foundation IRES grant scheme


Book Chapters

Privat K; Sobotkova A; Bakardzhiev S; Russeva V, 2018, 'Excavation and palaeodietary analysis of Bronze Age human remains from Boyanovo, Yambol province', in Ross S; Sobotkova A; Tzvetkova J; Nekhrizov G; Connor S (ed.), , Oxbow Books Limited, pp. 182 - 190
Field J; Privat K, 2008, 'Blood residue analysis', in Encyclopedia of Archaeology, pp. 927 - 931, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-012373962-9.00035-2
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Privat K; O'Connell T; Neal K; Hedges R, 2005, 'Fermented dairy product analysis and palaeodietary repercussions : is stable isotope analysis not cheesy enough?', in Mulville J; Outram A (ed.), , Oxbow Books Ltd
Privat K, 2002, 'Preliminary report of palaeodietary analysis of human and faunal remains from Bolshekaragansky kurgan 25', in Zdanovich D (ed.), , Iuzhno-Ural’skoe Knizhnoe Izdatel’stvo, Chelyabinsk, pp. 166 - 171

Conference Papers

Privat K; Reade W; Duncan Jones J, 2014, 'Analysis of molded and coreformed glass from 1st millennium BC gordion, anatolia', in Microscopy and Microanalysis, pp. 2016 - 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1431927614011817
Patel S; Guenther T; Dodds CWD; Kolke S; Privat KL; Matteucci PB; Suaning GJ, 2013, 'Materials design considerations involved in the fabrication of implantable bionics by metallization of ceramic substrates', in Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS, IEEE, Osaka, Japan, pp. 759 - 762, presented at Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), Osaka, Japan, 03 July 2013 - 07 July 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2013.6609611

Journal articles

Fernandez TT; Gross S; Arriola A; Privat K; Withford MJ, 2020, 'Revisiting ultrafast laser inscribed waveguide formation in commercial alkali-free borosilicate glasses', Optics Express, vol. 28, pp. 10153 - 10164, http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.387790
Shaw B; Coxe S; Haro J; Privat K; Haberle S; Hopf F; Hull E; Hawkins S; Jacobsen G, 2020, 'Smallest Late Pleistocene inhabited island in Australasia reveals the impact of post-glacial sea-level rise on human behaviour from 17,000 years ago', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 245, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106522
Tanaka Y; Pahlevani F; Kitamura SY; Privat K; Sahajwalla V, 2020, 'Behaviour of Sulphide and Non-alumina-Based Oxide Inclusions in Ca-Treated High-Carbon Steel', Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science, vol. 51, pp. 1384 - 1394, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11663-020-01872-2
Poon P; Graham IT; Liepa EAC; Cohen DR; Pringle IJ; Burkett DA; Privat K, 2020, 'Mineral distribution and provenance of heavy mineral sands (zircon, ilmenite, rutile) deposits from the NW Murray Basin, far western NSW, Australia', Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, vol. 67, pp. 575 - 590, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08120099.2020.1703813
Hossain R; Pahlevani F; Cholake ST; Privat K; Sahajwalla V, 2019, 'Innovative Surface Engineering of High-Carbon Steel through Formation of Ceramic Surface and Diffused Subsurface Hybrid Layering', ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, vol. 7, pp. 9228 - 9236, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b00051
Handoko W; Anurag A; Pahlevani F; Hossain R; Privat K; Sahajwalla V, 2019, 'Effect of selective-precipitations process on the corrosion resistance and hardness of dual-phase high-carbon steel', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, pp. 15631, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52228-z
Handoko W; Pahlevani F; Yao Y; Privat K; Sahajwalla V, 2019, 'From Waste to Multi-Hybrid Layering of High Carbon Steel to Improve Corrosion Resistance: An In-Depth Analysis Using EPMA and AFM Techniques', Surfaces, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/surfaces2030036
Kumar A; Joseph S; Tsechansky L; Privat K; Schreiter IJ; Schüth C; Graber ER, 2018, 'Biochar aging in contaminated soil promotes Zn immobilization due to changes in biochar surface structural and chemical properties', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 626, pp. 953 - 961, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.157
Alzahid YA; Mostaghimi P; Gerami A; Singh A; Privat K; Amirian T; Armstrong RT, 2018, 'Functionalisation of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)- Microfluidic Devices coated with Rock Minerals', Scientific Reports, vol. 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33495-8
Hanks B; Miller AV; Judd M; Epimakhov A; Razhev D; Privat K, 2018, 'Bronze Age diet and economy: New stable isotope data from the Central Eurasian steppes (2100-1700 BC)', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 97, pp. 14 - 25, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.06.006
Tanaka Y; Pahlevani F; Privat K; Moon S; Dippenaar R; Kitamura S; Sahajwalla V, 2018, 'Engulfment Behavior of Inclusions in High-Carbon Steel: Theoretical and Experimental Investigation', Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, vol. 49, pp. 2986 - 2997, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11663-018-1394-5
Turney CSM; Wilmshurst JM; Jones RT; Hogg AG; Fenwick P; Crowley SF; Privat K; Palmer JG; Wood JR; Thomas Z, 2017, 'Reconstructing atmospheric circulation over southern New Zealand: Establishment of modern westerly airflow 5500 years ago and implications for Southern Hemisphere Holocene climate change', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 159, pp. 77 - 87, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.12.017
VanValkenburgh P; Kelloway SJ; Privat KL; Sillar B; Quilter J, 2017, 'Rethinking cultural hybridity and technology transfer: SEM microstructural analysis of lead glazed ceramics from early colonial Peru', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 82, pp. 17 - 30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.04.007
Lay A; Graham I; Cohen D; Privat K; González-Jiménez JM; Belousova E; Barnes SJ, 2017, 'Ophiolitic chromitites of Timor Leste: Their composition, platinum group element geochemistry, mineralogy, and evolution', Canadian Mineralogist, vol. 55, pp. 875 - 908, http://dx.doi.org/10.3749/canmin.1500032
Reade WJ; Privat KL, 2016, 'Chemical characterisation of archaeological glasses from the hellenistic site of jebel khalid, Syria by electron probe microanalysis', Heritage Science, vol. 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40494-016-0084-3
Pahlevani F; Kumar R; Gorjizadeh N; Hossain R; Cholake ST; Privat K; Sahajwalla V, 2016, 'Enhancing steel properties through in situ formation of ultrahard ceramic surface', Scientific Reports, vol. 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep38740
McCarroll RJ; Graham IT; Fountain R; Privat K; Woodhead J, 2014, 'The Ojolali region, Sumatra, Indonesia: Epithermal gold-silver mineralisation within the Sunda Arc', Gondwana Research, vol. 26, pp. 218 - 240, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2013.08.013
Ventresca Miller A; Usmanova E; Logvin V; Kalieva S; Shevnina I; Logvin A; Kolbina A; Suslov A; Privat K; Haas K; Rosenmeier M, 2014, 'Subsistence and social change in central Eurasia: Stable isotope analysis of populations spanning the Bronze Age transition', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 42, pp. 525 - 538, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2013.11.012
Patel S; Guenther T; Dodds CWD; Kolke S; Privat KL; Matteucci PB; Suaning GJ, 2013, 'Materials design considerations involved in the fabrication of implantable bionics by metallization of ceramic substrates', Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, vol. 2013, pp. 759 - 762, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2013.6609611
Laws KJ; Xu W; Privat K; Ferry M; Robin L, 2010, 'The three dimensional structure of Mg-rich plates in as-cast Mg-based bulk metallic glass composites', Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A Journal, vol. 41A, pp. 1691 - 1698, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11661-009-9989-8
Trueman CN; Palmer MR; Field J; Privat K; Ludgate N; Chavagnac V; Eberth DA; Cifelli R; Rogers RR, 2008, 'Comparing rates of recrystallisation and the potential for preservation of biomolecules from the distribution of trace elements in fossil bones', Comptes Rendus - Palevol, vol. 7, pp. 145 - 158, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crpv.2008.02.006
Fraser RA; Grün R; Privat K; Gagan MK, 2008, 'Stable-isotope microprofiling of wombat tooth enamel records seasonal changes in vegetation and environmental conditions in eastern Australia', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 269, pp. 66 - 77, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.08.004
Trueman C; Privat K; Field JH, 2008, 'Why do crystallinity values fail to predict the extent of diagenetic alteration of bone mineral?', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 266, pp. 160 - 167, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.03.038
Privat KL; O'Connell TC; Hedges REM, 2007, 'The distinction between freshwater- and terrestrial-based diets: methodological concerns and archaeological applications of sulphur stable isotope analysis', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 34, pp. 1197 - 1204, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2006.10.008
Privat K; Schneeweiß J; Benecke N; Vasil'ev SK; O'Connell T; Hedges R; Craig O, 2005, 'Economy and diet at the late bronze age-iron age site of Čiča: Artefactual, archaeozoological and biochemical analyses', Eurasia Antiqua, vol. 11, pp. 419 - 447
Privat KL; O'connell TC; Richards MP, 2002, 'Stable isotope analysis of human and faunal remains from the Anglo-Saxon Cemetery and Berinsfield, Oxfordshire: Dietary and social implications', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 29, pp. 779 - 790, http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.2001.0785
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Electron Microscope Unit
Chemical Sciences Building (F10), Basement
Kensington Campus, UNSW