The Utility of Portable XRF for Preliminary Site Prospection at Contaminated Colonial Period Mining Sites (Puno, Peru)
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Field portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (pXRF) has seen an increase in use for testing potentially toxic levels of heavy metals in modern mining and industrial waste sites. Understanding the spatial variation of pollutants in soil is necessary for identifying proper prevention measures for soil contamination and long-term effects on human health. While this technique is popular in modern contexts, it has seen little applicability in archaeological contexts. In this poster, we present the results of a pXRF surface soil survey conducted at the site of Trapiche Itapalluni, a Spanish Colonial silver refining mill (AD 1650-1750) located 15 km southwest of Puno, Peru in the northwestern Lake Titicaca Basin. High levels of mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), and arsenic (As) were identified in surface soils, necessitating the relocation of planned excavation units. Soil contamination results were combined with systematic surface artifact collection to identify activity areas in locations where excavation would have been hazardous. This study highlights the applicability of rapid, in-situ pXRF analysis of surface soils in contaminated industrial archaeology sites to assess: 1) potential effects on human health; 2) relocation of excavation units; and 3) activity areas and site usage, using a combination of surface collection and soil chemistry analyses.
Cite this Record
The Utility of Portable XRF for Preliminary Site Prospection at Contaminated Colonial Period Mining Sites (Puno, Peru). Sarah Kennedy, Sarah Kelloway. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449710)
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min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;
Abstract Id(s): 23884