Technological Toolkit: Using XRF Analysis to better understand 19th Century Iron Making and its Implications for the Labor Force

Author(s): Joseph E. Clemens

Year: 2016

Summary

The use of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) as a tool for analyzing archaeological materials is becoming increasingly common.  Recently, various types of iron ore and iron products produced at furnaces in Maryland and Pennsylvania in the 19th century were analyzed using XRF measurements. These measurements were employed to create a representational graph of the elemental composition of iron artifacts in order to identify a connection between the source material and the iron product.  Documentary research of the local iron ore supplied to the Catoctin and Cornwall Furnaces coincided with the trace element concentrations identified using XRF.  Research about the types of iron produced at each site led to a better understanding of the labor involved in the iron making process and the changes in elemental composition that different production techniques create.  Trace elements observed in the iron samples provided insight into possible health issues that afflicted the labor force, and surrounding populace.

Cite this Record

Technological Toolkit: Using XRF Analysis to better understand 19th Century Iron Making and its Implications for the Labor Force. Joseph E. Clemens. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434485)

Keywords

Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 644