Evaluation of relative comparator and k0-NAA for characterization of Aboriginal Australian ochre

  • Rachel S. Popelka-Filcoff
  • Claire E. Lenehan
  • Michael D. Glascock
  • John W. Bennett
  • Attila Stopic
  • Jamie S. Quinton
  • Allan Pring
  • Keryn Walshe
Article

Abstract

Ochre is a significant material in Aboriginal Australian cultural expression from ceremonial uses to its application on many types of artifacts. However, ochre is a complex material, with associated surrounding minerals potentially challenging the overall analysis. In recent literature several studies have attempted to characterize ochre by a variety of techniques to understand procurement and trade. However, ochre is difficult to differentiate on major elemental or mineralogical composition and requires a detailed analysis of its geochemical “fingerprint”. Neutron activation analysis (NAA) provides the high sensitivity (sub-ppm), precision and accuracy in multi-elemental analysis required for ochre. The elements of interest for ochre generally include rare earth elements (REEs) and certain transition metal elements as well as arsenic and antimony. Data from relative comparator NAA (MURR, University of Missouri, USA) is compared with data from k0-NAA OPAL (ANSTO, Lucas Heights, Australia). A discussion of the two methods will be examined for their utility in “fingerprinting” the provenance of ochre. The continuing importance of NAA to archaeometry will also be discussed.

Keywords

Neutron activation analysis k0-Neutron activation analysis Nuclear archaeometry Method comparison Ochre 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Fellowship, AINSE grant 8103, Australian Research Council (ARC) grant LP0882597, MURR National Science Foundation (NSF) 0802757, Neutron Activation staff at ANSTO and Archaeometry Laboratory staff at MURR, Ms. Jiafang Bei (South Australian Museum), Dr Elizabeth Mackey (NIST), Dr Ross Chadwick and Ms Alice Beale (Western Australian Museum).

References

  1. 1.
    Jercher M, Pring A, Jones PG, Raven MD (1998) Archaeometry 40(2):383–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jones P (1984) J Anthropol Soc S Aust 22(7):3–10Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jones P (1984) J Anthropol Soc S Aust 22(8):10–19Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Popelka-Filcoff RS, Craig N, Glascock MD, Robertson JD, Aldenderfer M, Speakman RJ (2008) INAA of ochre artifacts from Jiskairumoko, Peru. In: Glascock MD, Speakman RJ, Popelka-Filcoff RS (eds) Archaeological chemistry: analytical techniques and archaeological interpretation. ACS Symposium Series. American Chemical Society, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Popelka-Filcoff RS, Miksa E, Robertson JD, Glascock MD, Wallace H (2008) J Archaeol Sci 35:752–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Popelka-Filcoff RS, Robertson JD, Glascock MD, Descantes C (2007) J Radioanal Nucl Chem 272(1):17–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Glascock MD, Neff H (2003) Meas Sci Technol 14(9):1516–1526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Speakman RJ, Glascock MD (2007) Archaeometry 49(2):179–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bishop RL, Canouts V, Crown PL, Atley SPd (1990) Am Antiq 55(3):537–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hein A, Tsolakidou A, Iliopoulos I, Mommsen H, Garrigos JBI, Montana G, Kilikoglou V (2002) Analyst 127(4):542–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    James WD, Dahlin ES, Carlson DL (2004) J Radioanal Nucl Chem 263(3):697–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Balla M, Gunneweg J (2007) Archaeometry 49(2):373–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Carrot F, Dardenne C, Deschamps N, Lahanier C, Revel G (1993) J Radioanal Nucl Chem 168(2):287–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Embarch K, Bounakhla M, Bajja A, Ibnmajah M, Jacimovic R, Smodis B, Byrne AR, Sabir A (2004) J Radioanal Nucl Chem 261(1):43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Montoya E, Glowacki M, Zapata J, Mendoza P (2003) Chemical characterization of archaeological ceramics using k0 Based INAA: a study in the production and distribution of middle horizon pottery from Cuzco, Peru. Nuclear analytical techniques in archaeological investigations. International Atomic Energy Agency, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bennett J (2008) J Radioanal Nucl Chem 278(3):671–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Glascock MD (2006) Tables for neutron activation analysis. Fifth Edition Research Reactor Center, University of Missouri-Columbia, ColumbiaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel S. Popelka-Filcoff
    • 1
  • Claire E. Lenehan
    • 1
  • Michael D. Glascock
    • 2
  • John W. Bennett
    • 3
  • Attila Stopic
    • 3
  • Jamie S. Quinton
    • 1
  • Allan Pring
    • 4
  • Keryn Walshe
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Chemical and Physical SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR), University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)Lucas HeightsAustralia
  4. 4.Department of MineralogySouth Australian MuseumAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologySouth Australian MuseumAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations