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R. Tykot and S. Young (1996)

Archaeological applications of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

In: Archaeological Chemistry: Organic, Inorganic, and Biochemical Analysis, ed. by Orna, M. V., vol. 625, pp. 116-130, Amer Chemical Soc, Washington. (ISBN: 978-0-8412-3395-9).

Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a relatively new analytical technique increasingly used in the Earth Sciences in the last decade, and in ''consumer'' fields such as archaeology in the last few years. For archaeologists, ICP-MS has several important advantages over neutron activation and X-ray fluorescence analysis: (1) only a tiny powdered sample is required, so the technique is minimally destructive to valuable artifacts; (2) the large number of elements that can be accurately and precisely analyzed is particularly important for characterization and provenance studies; (3) isotope ratio measurements to three significant figures are possible without extensive sample preparation; and (4) the combination of small sample size and low per-sample cost allows assemblages of artifacts rather than individual objects to be studied. These advantages will be illustrated by the trace element characterization and source tracing of obsidian, the compositional analysis of copper-based artifacts, and the lead isotope ratio analysis of turquoise.

earth-sciences, icp-ms, geological samples


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