Neutron activation analysis of ancient Italian tile samples
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Fifteen tile samples from archaeological digs in central Italy were analyzed for trace element content using comparative neutron activation analysis. To accommodate the simultaneous irradiation of a large number of samples and standard reference materials, we designed a custom sample holder for the Penn State Breazeale Reactor 2″ × 6″ tube and characterized the thermal and epithermal neutron flux across all sample locations. Analysis of sample irradiation data produced concentration values for 14 elements. Statistical analyses of the data set using agglomerative hierarchical clustering indicated that the samples are from two distinct sites, which was confirmed by provenance information received after analysis.
KeywordsNeutron activation analysis (NAA) TRIGA reactor Non-destructive testing Gamma ray spectroscopy Archaeological provenance Ancient pottery
This research was performed in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Ammerman and Dr. Albert Ammerman of Colgate University, who kindly provided the samples for analysis. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, Colgate University, and the The Pennsylvania State University Radiation Science and Engineering Center.
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