Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 563–588

Accurate Measurements of Low Z Elements in Sediments and Archaeological Ceramics Using Portable X-ray Fluorescence (PXRF)


DOI: 10.1007/s10816-012-9162-3

Cite this article as:
Johnson, J. J Archaeol Method Theory (2014) 21: 563. doi:10.1007/s10816-012-9162-3


This study seeks to demonstrate the ability of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) to estimate concentrations of K, Ca, and Fe in sediments and archaeological ceramics under controlled conditions. After a discussion of the potential confounding factors in PXRF use, a protocol which attempts to address these issues through repeated measurement, calibration, and re-sampling is detailed. Data generated using this protocol are then tested for accuracy and repeatability. PXRF is argued to be able to produce accurate estimates of K provided the suggested protocol is used, and able to produce repeatable estimates of K and Ca under these same conditions. Other experimental conditions tested failed to produce accurate and repeatable results. Fe results are found to be problematic given the calibration standards used here.


PXRF Geochemistry Sediments Ceramics 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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