Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

Elemental Analysis of Copper-Based Metal Standards by ICP-MS, ICP-OES and pXRF for Roman Metallurgy

Abstract

Copper-based metals were used extensively in Roman times for tools, weapons, and jewelry but not many studies have been done on the use of particular alloys. This study uses inductively-coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS), inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), and portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) analysis to create a database of major and minor elements for the analysis of Roman period copper-based metal artifacts. Over 60 standard-reference materials were selected for analysis to establish calibration curves for elements that will allow quantitative comparison of archaeological samples. These copper alloys could contain tin, lead, zinc, antimony, and iron. The data gathered may be used to determine patterns of elemental composition based on the type of object and its use. It can also be used to view the evolution of Roman technology in regards to elemental variations in the alloys. ICP-MS and ICP-OES were used for their high level of accuracy. The pXRF was utilized although it is less precise because it can analyze artifacts nondestructively. The ICP-OES measured most of the major elements, including copper, zinc and tin. The ICP-MS analyzed trace elements like iron, silver, gold and antimony. All of these elements but antimony were measured by the pXRF.

Categories

Interdisciplinary

Research Type

Course Related

Mentor Information

Dr. Robert Tykot

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Elemental Analysis of Copper-Based Metal Standards by ICP-MS, ICP-OES and pXRF for Roman Metallurgy

Copper-based metals were used extensively in Roman times for tools, weapons, and jewelry but not many studies have been done on the use of particular alloys. This study uses inductively-coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS), inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), and portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) analysis to create a database of major and minor elements for the analysis of Roman period copper-based metal artifacts. Over 60 standard-reference materials were selected for analysis to establish calibration curves for elements that will allow quantitative comparison of archaeological samples. These copper alloys could contain tin, lead, zinc, antimony, and iron. The data gathered may be used to determine patterns of elemental composition based on the type of object and its use. It can also be used to view the evolution of Roman technology in regards to elemental variations in the alloys. ICP-MS and ICP-OES were used for their high level of accuracy. The pXRF was utilized although it is less precise because it can analyze artifacts nondestructively. The ICP-OES measured most of the major elements, including copper, zinc and tin. The ICP-MS analyzed trace elements like iron, silver, gold and antimony. All of these elements but antimony were measured by the pXRF.