Archaeology Datasheet 12

Chemical analysis of metalwork and metalworking debris

The composition of artefacts or samples can be determined by chemical analysis. The method of analysis chosen depends mainly on the answers needed. Some types of chemical analysis are quantitative, providing precise information about composition in percentages or parts per million; others give qualitative results, identifying the main elements or compounds present, and provide a rough idea of relative concentrations. Some methods require samples which will be destroyed by the analysis (destructive analysis) but surface analysis can be performed without damage to the artefact. Other considerations are cost and availability of equipment.

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