This grant permits Dr. Price to establish a laboratory of archaeological chemistry at the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin. Central to this facility is the purchase of a Model 3520 Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometer System manufactured by Applied Research Laboratories Inc. This, together with a mass spectrometer already present in the department of geology and geophysics will allow the analyses of the elemental and isotopic composition of archaeological materials such as bone, ceramics and soil. These analyses will provide information on past human diet, economy and behavior. The proposed research will be conducted in collaboration with a number of investigators and will pursue a number of goals. These include studies of: maize utilization in prehistoric eastern North America; diagenetic changes in bone composition; stature, status and diet in the European iron age; woodland ceramics in Wisconsin; neolithic ceramics in Denmark; soils from prehistoric houses in Wisconsin; and effects of the transition to agriculture. Through the use of archaeometric (chemical and physical) techniques archaeologists have increased enormously the amount of information which can be gleaned from objects such as human bone and potsherds. For example, through the chemical analysis of pottery it is possible to match clay source with finished pot and to reconstuct prehistoric trade networks. Since diet is partially reflected in bone, it is possible to analyze human skeletons to determine the importance of different kinds of foods. This helps archaeologists to reconstruct patterns of human subsistence. No laboratories in the United States are dedicated to answering such problems and therefore the establishment of a facility at the University of Wisconsin will prove of great benefit to the discipline.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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University of Wisconsin Madison
United States
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