With National Science Foundation support Drs. Michael Glascock and Jeffrey Ferguson will continue the operation of the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center (MURR). The Archaeometry Laboratory is the most comprehensive US-based laboratory dedicated to chemical characterization studies of archaeological materials, and is widely recognized around the world for its leading role in the field. The analytical techniques available include neutron activation analysis (NAA), inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry (ICP-MS) of solutions using high resolution, quadrupole, and multicollector instruments, laser ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS), and conventional- and portable-XRF. These techniques permit the quantification of major, minor and trace elements simultaneously and with a high degree of accuracy and precision in a wide range of archaeological materials. The MURR laboratory also plays an important role in training students in the analytical techniques for application to specific archaeological questions. Frequently, archaeology students are invited to spend time at MURR where they are taught a variety of methods for interpreting archaeological data and have direct access to the large compositional databases containing more than 100,000 previous analyses of pottery, obsidian, basalt, and chert. Online access to these databases is continuing to be developed and improved for integration with databases from other laboratories. Laboratory staff and students are also involved in efforts to rescue compositional databases from laboratories no longer in operation. The ceramic databases in many parts of the world have reached a sufficient size to allow regional syntheses that examine large-scale patterns of ceramic production, use and exchange. In addition to continued support of student and senior archaeology research projects, Glascock and Ferguson are also developing calibration standards and analytical procedures that facilitate the integration of data from multiple analytical techniques (e.g., INAA, ICP-MS, XRF). These efforts will benefit both new and mature analytical programs involved in archaeometric compositional analysis research. Glascock and Ferguson continue to oversee the development and application of LA-ICP-MS to archaeological materials and facilitate the development of portable-XRF for archaeometric research. The broader impacts of this work includes the elemental data generated in collaboration with colleagues and students that will be used to address important topics related to human and social dynamics of prehistoric peoples and societies, such as, mobility patterns and migrations of people, cultural responses to conflict and stress, community social organization, the development of craft production and specialization, and the creation and maintenance of social boundaries and identity.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Carolyn Ehardt
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University of Missouri-Columbia
United States
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