The Application of Portable XRF in Archaeometry and cultural - historical Materials

Study of cultural and historical materials excavated from the archaeological excavation is one of the most important goals of Archaeometry, in order to answer a lot of questions in archaeology. In this regard, elemental analysis is important factors in the realization of this aim. Numerous analytical methods have been used for this purpose traditionally. Among them, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) methods, inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP-MS) or neutron activation analysis (INAA) can be noted. In recent years, the use of portable X-ray fluorescence instrument is one of the ways that has been received a lot of attention and is expanding and improving continuously. The good accuracy as well as fieldwork possibility of this non-destructive method has led it to increasingly attains more popularity. In particular, this method has been used more and more in classification and provenance study of pottery and stone artifacts. Although very few institutions in Iran, including Tehran Art University, have access to this tool but due to the unique features of this device, it seems that its use will be expanded in next year’s. This paper attempts to give a general idea about this technique to the researchers and students, and review its advantages, limitations and application in cultural heritage purposes. There is almost no any other portable analytical tool, which is become so familiar and user-friendly like portable XRF. As this technique is actually a surface analysis and penetration x-ray is limited to some millimeter, the target surface must be free of likely contaminations. However it would help researchers in different fields studies like museum studies, Archaeometry, archaeology, geoarchaeology or conservation of artifact. In theory, all elements except H & He could be identified with this technique. However, identification of light elements with low atomic numbers is very hard. With using a new generation of silicon drift detectors, it is possible that elements from Mg (Z=12) to U (Z=92) be detected. Besides qualitative studies, this instrument has been used widely for quantitative analysis. Classification and provenance studies are the main application of this tool in archaeology. With appropriate calibration and statistical methods reliable results would be acquired. Some examples of ancient potteries from Zanjan are given in this issue. Clustering test (CA) and principle component analysis (PCA) are the two most used statistical methods in interpretation of quantitative results of XRF.
Journal of Research on Archaeometry, Volume:1 Issue: 1, 2015
87 to 101  
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