Archaeological Chemistry by A Mark Pollard, Carl Heron, Ruth Ann Armitage

By A Mark Pollard, Carl Heron, Ruth Ann Armitage

The moment variation of this well known identify Archaeological Chemistry builds at the winning formulation of the 1st version. the prevailing case experiences were multiplied to take account of recent views and new facts within the intervening decade because the 1st version was once released. moreover, new chapters emphasise the numerous bring up in molecular and isotopic research of natural continues to be. the 2 new chapters (stable isotopes and molecules and milk) assemble fresh literature approximately historic human diets.

Archaeological Chemistry second variation goals to illustrate the significance and application of medical innovations utilized to the research of the previous. specifically, the function of chemistry is emphasized via a chain of case stories. The authors current the medical research as a not easy box of enquiry instead of a regimen program of verified techniques.

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6 FURTHER READING A comprehensive history of scientific analysis applied to the study of past people and materials is lacking. The papers by Caley (1949; 1951; 1967) remain useful for summaries of the early applications of chemistry to archaeology and the paper by Trigger (1988) is essential reading. The contributions of Berzelius, Davy, Faraday and others to the development of chemistry are summarized by Hudson (1992). The text by Renfrew and Bahn (2004) serves as a very useful general introduction, covering the scope and aims of modern archaeology, including many scientific applications.

In atomic absorption, the upper limit is about 3000–4000 1C, but temperatures in excess of 8000–10 000 1C are achievable using an instrument called an inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES – sometimes referred to as ICP-OES, meaning ‘optical emission spectrometer’). This is a development of the OES instrument described above, and is essentially an atomic absorption spectrometer operated in the emission mode, but with the gas burner replaced by a plasma torch, capable of supporting the combustion of argon at these very high temperatures.

In practice, a single line from each element of interest is selected for quantification, taking into account the relative theoretical intensities of all the lines from the element, and the number of spectral overlaps known to occur in the relevant sample. By calibrating the spectrometer against known concentrations of each element, it is therefore possible to produce quantitative data. One particular advantage of this technique is that elements which may be present but might not have been expected can be detected by careful observation of unusual lines on the photographic plate.

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