Fingerprinting ancient Egyptian quarries

Preliminary results using laser ablation microprobe-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

L. M. Mallory-Greenough, J. D. Greenough, G. Dobosi, J. V. Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microchemical analysis of minerals present in pottery and stone artefacts may help determine their provenance. Electron microprobe major element analyses of augite suggest that minor elements (TiO2, MnO, Na2O) are important in fingerprinting basalts. This points to the potential usefulness of trace elements. Augite present in six basalt samples (representing all known/suspected Pharaonic basalt quarries in northern and middle Egypt) and basaltic temper fragments in two New Kingdom pottery sherds was analysed for 28 trace elements (Sr, Ba, Th, U, Zr, Hf, Nb, Ta, Y, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, Sc, V, Cr, Ni, Ga) by laser ablation microprobe-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LAM-ICP-MS, laserprobe). Cluster and discriminant analysis indicate that (1) laserprobe trace element data are more effective at fingerprinting basalts than conventional electron-microprobe data and (2) basaltic temper in the two sherds does not match any of the quarries. Microbeam techniques providing trace element data may represent the future for mineral-based provenance studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalArchaeometry
Volume41
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999

Fingerprint

present
discriminant analysis
cluster analysis
Egypt
artifact
Basalt
Laser Ablation
Quarry
Microprobe
Trace Elements
Egyptians
Pottery
Electron Microprobe
Temper
Minerals
Conventional
Discriminant Analysis
Stone Artifacts
Usefulness
Cluster Analysis

Keywords

  • Basalt
  • Egypt
  • Laser ablation microprobe-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
  • New Kingdom
  • Petrology
  • Pottery
  • Provenance
  • Pyroxene
  • Stone
  • Temper
  • Trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Fingerprinting ancient Egyptian quarries : Preliminary results using laser ablation microprobe-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. / Mallory-Greenough, L. M.; Greenough, J. D.; Dobosi, G.; Owen, J. V.

In: Archaeometry, Vol. 41, No. 2, 08.1999, p. 227-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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