tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Exploration of Wet and Dry Portable X-ray Fluorescence for Archaeochemical Prospection: A Pilot Study in Comparative Method

Author(s): Kevin Nolan ; Mark Hill

Year: 2015

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


Geoscience approaches are being applied for prospection and intra-site analysis with increasing frequency in a variety of contexts around the world. There currently are a variety of archaeochemical procedures in use, each of which suffers from inherent limitations Colorimetric measurement is limited in the number of elements measured simultaneously. Inductively Coupled Plasma techniques are expensive and restricted to a narrow range of institutions. Yet the recent availability of Portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) offers a more flexible (wide spectrum of elements) and relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that is potentially more widely applicable to archaeological issues. However, pXRF is most often used for whole-sample, dry chemistry which introduces a potentially geological confounding factor. In contrast, weak acid extraction preferences weakly adsorbed, and more likely anthropogenic, ions. We perform a comparative analysis of colorimetric measurement of phosphate, ICP-OES measurement of multiple elements, and both wet and dry pXRF of soil samples from a variety of glacial till plain contexts to assess the ability of pXRF to comparably measure the chemical imprint of human activity in till plain soils.

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.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Exploration of Wet and Dry Portable X-ray Fluorescence for Archaeochemical Prospection: A Pilot Study in Comparative Method. Kevin Nolan, Mark Hill. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398086)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America