Development and Applications of a Minimally Destructive Method of Sourcing Shell via LA-ICP-MS

Author(s): Evan Peacock

Year: 2015


Shell artifacts and shell-tempered ceramics can be chemically sourced to point of origin because shellfish are in approximate chemical equilibrium with the waterways they inhabit. Analyzing artifacts or shell temper via Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry is attractive due to the minimally destructive nature of the method. A pilot study in Mississippi funded by the NCPTT verified the potential of the method for sourcing shell-tempered pottery. Subsequent work includes the chemical sourcing of a prehistoric shell "spoon" and application of the method to encrustated pottery from the Hungarian Plain. Other scholars are now applying the method in a variety of archaeological settings, emphasizing the positive effect of NCPTT "seed money" for spurring innovative applications in low-impact archaeological research.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Development and Applications of a Minimally Destructive Method of Sourcing Shell via LA-ICP-MS. Evan Peacock. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396859)


LA-ICP-MS Shell Sourcing

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southeast

Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;