The Use of X-Ray Fluorescence to Determine the Composition of American Glassware Artifacts: Analytical Methods and Chronological Insights
Author(s): Grace L. Gronniger
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.
Cite this Record
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)
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