Lithic Sourcing Using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

Author(s): Wayne Wilson; Neil Hauser

Year: 2015


Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometry (LIBS) has been used in Colorado and Wyoming for identifying and sourcing lithic materials for the last ten years. These have primarily focused on chert and silicified sandstone materials and quarry-derived artifacts. During 2012-2013 the LIBS was used to assess whether Bridger chert from sources in northwestern Colorado and southwestern Wyoming could be distinguished from each other. It was found that with greater than 80% accuracy, chert from these areas were distinguishable from each other. To enhance the LIBS capability a new field portable LIBS system has been developed with better spectroscopic resolution, broader wavelength coverage and an ability to reliably sample small inclusions in material down to a 0.1 mm spatial resolution for more detailed analysis. The analysis of collected samples can be done in the field within minutes/hours of collection. Quarry samples from the Bridger assessment and from other quarries on the Colorado Western Slope have been resampled with the new LIBS system. The results have demonstrated an increased ability to source lithic materials from quarries; even from ones only a few hundred meters apart. The results suggest that LIBS can be considered a candidate for field analysis and sourcing of lithic materials.

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Cite this Record

Lithic Sourcing Using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy. Wayne Wilson, Neil Hauser. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395613)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.761; min lat: 29.917 ; max long: -109.27; max lat: 42.553 ;