- A spark plasma sintering (SPS) apparatus was used for the first time as an analytical testing tool for studying creep in ceramics at elevated temperatures. Compression creep experiments on a fine-grained (250 nm) polycrystalline magnesium aluminate spinel were successfully performed in the 1100–1200 °C temperature range, under an applied stress of 120–200 MPa. It was found that the stress exponent and activation energy depended on temperature and applied stress, respectively. The deformed samples were characterized by high resolution scanning electron microscope (HRSEM) and high resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM). The results indicate that the creep mechanism was related to grain boundary sliding, accommodated by dislocation slip and climb. The experimental results, extrapolated to higher temperatures and lower stresses, were in good agreement with data reported in the literature.