Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

Elemental Analysis of Plaster Floors and Soils to Determine Human Activity at the Prehispanic Archaeological Site of El Coyote, Honduras

Abstract

Elemental analysis of soils and plaster floor surfaces were used to determine the locations of human activity at the Prehispanic archaeological site of El Coyote in Honduras. Heightened levels of sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium all can indicate the presence of human activity. P and Na are often linked with the processes of eating and refuse disposal, K is often linked with cooking and Ca is often linked with the preparation of various foods. Trace and major element analysis of the plaster samples was also done to address whether different source materials were used.

With this research, we are aiming to determine whether non-destructive portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analysis of plaster can provide comparable interpretive results to inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) results for soil samples taken from the same respective locations. If pXRF analysis, when compared to ICP-MS analysis, is determined to be of comparable quality and usefulness, then future research involving anthropogenic traces on plaster could more frequently utilize pXRF analysis as this type of analysis may be used in the field, and is less expensive and less time-consuming when compared to ICP-MS analysis which first requires sample extraction and laboratory processing.

Categories

Interdisciplinary

Research Type

Course Related

Mentor Information

Dr. Robert Tykot

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Elemental Analysis of Plaster Floors and Soils to Determine Human Activity at the Prehispanic Archaeological Site of El Coyote, Honduras

Elemental analysis of soils and plaster floor surfaces were used to determine the locations of human activity at the Prehispanic archaeological site of El Coyote in Honduras. Heightened levels of sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium all can indicate the presence of human activity. P and Na are often linked with the processes of eating and refuse disposal, K is often linked with cooking and Ca is often linked with the preparation of various foods. Trace and major element analysis of the plaster samples was also done to address whether different source materials were used.

With this research, we are aiming to determine whether non-destructive portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analysis of plaster can provide comparable interpretive results to inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) results for soil samples taken from the same respective locations. If pXRF analysis, when compared to ICP-MS analysis, is determined to be of comparable quality and usefulness, then future research involving anthropogenic traces on plaster could more frequently utilize pXRF analysis as this type of analysis may be used in the field, and is less expensive and less time-consuming when compared to ICP-MS analysis which first requires sample extraction and laboratory processing.