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Survey of United States Synchrotron Studies in Archaeometry & Environmental Change in the Amuq Valley as Indicated by Variations in Element Concentrations over Time

"Sediment cores from the ancient Near East provide a sedimentary record spanning 7500 years of history. The sediments, from relic lakes in the Hatay province in south-central Turkey, were analyzed with synchrotron radiation-based x-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF) to determine element concentrations over time, with selected elements serving as proxies of environmental change. The elemental concentrations measured follow a number of distinct patterns that may be related to local geomorphology, climate, and human activity. The measurements indicate lake development, lake recession, erosion, and possible metal working activities, data that can be potentially correlated with the archaeological settlement pattern. It is not insignificant that synchrotron radiation is non-destructive, making it a choice technique for objects of historic, archaeological, and artistic value. Moreover, the speed with which the data can be collected enables bulk measurement of major, minor, and trace elements of hundreds of samples in a reasonable amount of time with little sample preparation. Our experiments demonstrate that SR XRF provides the archaeological community with a powerful, non-destructive, and fast technique for investigating human intervention in the ancient environment."

Author(s):  Friedman, Elizabeth S
Format:  Presentation
Source:  Applications of Synchrotron Techniques in Art and Archaeology Workshop 27th Annual SSRL Users Meeting, Stanford, CA. - October 18th, 2000