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[3-7 June 2013, UK] Outside the Lab: pXRF in the Field

Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) is a means to bring traditionally laboratory-based studies into the field, enabling greater on-site collaborations and analyses of many more artefacts and soil samples faster and non-destructively. With pXRF, analyzing soil and sediment samples can be influenced less by export restrictions and more by the intellectual framework in which the research is conceived. Additionally, the speed of pXRF is advantageous for rescue excavations, where archaeologists cannot wait months for results to inform their work. Ultimately, pXRF enables us to formulate new (or previously cost- and/or time-prohibitive) research designs. For example, it offers us a new way to study how past peoples organised space on various scales, from house interiors to entire settlements, as well as the contexts in which they practiced craft production, including metallurgy. In this course, participants will learn to use pXRF as a means to identify site activity areas as revealed by soil chemistry. Specifically, we will be surveying for signals of copper metallurgy at the archaeological site of Maroni-Vournes, where there is secondary evidence of copper smelting (e.g., slag, tuyeres) but the context of its production is unknown (i.e., small-scale household versus industrial).

Location: Cyprus; field site: Maroni-Vournes; Accommodation: to be determined, likely local.

This course is not opened to participants outside the NARNIA network

Trainers: Dr. Roger Doonan, Dr. Ellery Frahm

Programme – basic outline:

3 June, afternoon – Welcome: lecture on geochemical surveying, pXRF basics, research strategies,

4 June to 6 June – Fieldwork at Maroni-Vournes: geochemical soil analysis, grids, surveying, etc.,

7 June, morning – Summary, wrap up, data synthesis, interpretations and conclusions

Contact person: Dr. Ellery Frahm, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, email: