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Detecting and Characterizing Archaeological Deposits Using In Situ Shallow Subsurface Spectroscopy

Author(s): Timothy Matney ; Sarah E Travaly ; Linda R Barrett ; David S Perry

Year: 2016

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Geophysical prospection is now a common field technique employed by archaeologists across the globe. Likewise, chemical analyses of soils, residues, and other samples in laboratory settings have been part of archaeological research for decades. This paper examines a new technique, still in an experimental phase, which allows archaeologists to refine the results of geophysical surveys by conducting chemical characterizations of deposits in situ using shallow subsurface spectroscopy. A near infrared and visible light diffuse reflectance spectrometer is employed via a truck-mounted push-probe system to collect spectra with signatures characteristic of archaeological features and distinguishable from background spectra. This paper reports on results of a pilot study conducted at two Native American settlements in Kansas and the results of bench tests to determine the ability of NIR and VIS spectroscopy to discern the presence of fatty acids, similar to those found in human burials, in various concentrations and soil types. Finally, the potential uses and limitations of this emerging technology are discussed.

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Detecting and Characterizing Archaeological Deposits Using In Situ Shallow Subsurface Spectroscopy. Timothy Matney, Sarah E Travaly, Linda R Barrett, David S Perry. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404907)


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