Ceramics and the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS): a diachronic study using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF)
Sparling, Loren Tai
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This Master's project explores the viability of portable XRF (pXRF) for the purposes of identifying the chemical signatures of ceramics collected as part of archaeological research. The work presented makes clear that this method is viable and opens the door for future opportunities with extensive research collections located in storage units and museums precisely because the analysis is portable. No longer will researchers face the hurdles of export permissions for samples. The project presents results from three separate research phases. The first data collection tested the method with a control group, corroborating results from what is traditionally seen as a far more rigorous method for chemical sourcing of archaeological ceramics, instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The second and third phases handled much larger datasets, setting the stage for future research. Additionally, an investigation of data collection efficiency shows that existing protocols produce statistically consistent results, yet that protocol economy can reduce overall analysis cost (in terms of time) for certain classes of ceramics.