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pXRF at the Museum: Non-Destructive Elemental Composition Analysis of Collection Objects

Author(s): Jennifer Milligan ; Linda Scott Cummings ; R. A. Varney ; Gina Laurin

Year: 2017

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Applications for X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry as an analytical tool in anthropologically related disciplines continue to expand. Museum staff are charged with the amazing, yet daunting, task of housing, preserving, researching, and showcasing our most valued cultural treasures, and this versatile tool can help. As a non-destructive technique for investigating elemental-based aspects of material culture, handheld XRFs are an effective analytical option for museum collections. A handheld XRF was used to implement museum studies focusing on the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead associated with pesticides and elemental composition of pigments. Multiple collection methods were employed to identify elemental signatures from portions of non-homogeneous samples including ethnographic objects, paintings, furniture, and figurines. This poster highlights the resulting data sets with attention to semi-quantitative analysis of elements likely associated with poisons, as well as elemental presence/absence related to pigment composition and identification.

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pXRF at the Museum: Non-Destructive Elemental Composition Analysis of Collection Objects. Jennifer Milligan, Linda Scott Cummings, R. A. Varney, Gina Laurin. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429364)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16999

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