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The Use of X-Ray Fluorescence to Determine the Composition of American Glassware Artifacts: Analytical Methods and Chronological Insights

Author(s): Grace L. Gronniger

Year: 2016

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Summary

The compositional analysis of American glass has untapped potential to shed light on the chronologies of historical archaeological deposits. This is due to a 1864 patent, which introduced the use of soda-lime glass to U.S. pressed glass manufacturers. By 1880, soda-lime glass displaced lead glass in this industry. Therefore, pressed glass tableware produced before 1864 contains lead, whereas pressed glass tableware produced after ca. 1879 largely lacks lead. This study demonstrates the use of compositional analysis to  clarify the chronologies of pressed glass tableware assemblages. The method is explained, including the rationale for using XRF rather than other less reliable composition identification methods. The use of this method to date archaeological assemblages from several historic features in St. Louis, Missouri, is then reported. The results indicate that the XRF analysis of pressed glass artifacts is a relatively low-cost and effective method of refining the chronologies of American historical archaeological deposits.


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The Use of X-Ray Fluorescence to Determine the Composition of American Glassware Artifacts: Analytical Methods and Chronological Insights. Grace L. Gronniger. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434840)


Keywords

Temporal Keywords
1800 BCE to 1900 BCE


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 273

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