PXRF and earthenware ceramics: An investigation into the use of pXRF measurements of elements to categorise Anatolian Iron Age ceramics

01st June 2012

Jess Walker TA

Author, Jessie Walker

PXRF and earthenware ceramics: An investigation into the use of pXRF measurements of elements to categorise Anatolian Iron Age ceramics

Jessie Walker

BA(Hons), Department of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, University of New England, January 2011

Most methods of elemental analysis are expensive, timeconsuming and destructive, but the easy, cheap and nondestructive portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) process has rarely been used with ceramics. This thesis investigates the reliability and accuracy of pXRF for measuring a particular range of elements in earthenware ceramics which may be useful for categorisation. When fitted with a Cu/Ti/Al filter to measure elements in the atomic range from Fe to Nb, a Bruker pXRF TRACeR machine reliably measures almost all of these elements. Principal Component Analysis showed that, of the elements Fe, Rb, Sr and Zr, only three were required to categorise 50 Anatolian Iron Age sherds as accurately as Neutron Activation Analysis data, and that there was flexibility in which three elements were used. Also, this research demonstrated that pXRF could be conducted in museum contexts on valuable earthenware artefacts which could not be removed or destroyed, and that resultant measurements were capable of confirming their typological categorisation.

Jesse Walker
PXRF and earthenware ceramics: An investigation into the use of pXRF measurements of elements to categorise Anatolian Iron Age ceramics
June 2012
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Thesis Abstracts
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