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Direct Comparison of LA-ICP-MS and Handheld XRF Elemental Analysis of Copper Artifacts: A Methodological Case Study in the Exploration of Hopewell Valuables Exchange Systems

Author(s): Kevin Nolan ; Mark Seeman ; Mark Hill ; Eric Olson

Year: 2017

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Summary

We evaluate the sensitivity of handheld X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) analysis in reliable identification of geological sources of copper artifacts with varying levels of corrosion. As part of a larger project, we analyzed 52 copper artifacts and dozens of copper samples from known geological sources with Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) (Hill et al. 2016), and analysis of the same source samples with pXRF. In both of these previous analyses, we have achieved a reclassification success rate; in fact the pXRF performs better on source samples than the LA-ICP-MS when raw data are the input (Hill and Nolan 2015). Here we apply this direct comparison to artifacts from Scioto Valley Hopewell sites. Each artifact and each source sample were measured with both instruments. We compare the classification of each artifact to likely geological source group among the two methods in order evaluate the reliability of pXRF as an independent tool for identifying the likely geological source of copper artifacts in archaeological context. The ability to successfully employ pXRF on copper artifacts opens new avenues of exploration to include large and fragile objects that are not normally amenable to LA-ICP-MS analysis.


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Cite this Record

Direct Comparison of LA-ICP-MS and Handheld XRF Elemental Analysis of Copper Artifacts: A Methodological Case Study in the Exploration of Hopewell Valuables Exchange Systems. Kevin Nolan, Mark Seeman, Mark Hill, Eric Olson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431775)


Keywords

General
Copper Hopewell pXRF

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15437

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