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Colloquium | Physics Division

The Archaeometry Lab at MURR: Artifact Provenance and Materials Sciences in Archaeology

PHY Colloquium

Abstract: Have you ever wondered how archaeologists know how people in the past collected obsidian stone to make tools, or made and traded pottery or metal objects over long distances? The Archaeometry Lab at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) is a unique research facility dedicated to the analysis and sourcing of archaeological and geological materials using techniques in nuclear and analytical chemistry.

Since 1988, researchers at the lab have received continuous funding from the National Science Foundation to support hundreds of collaborative projects, analyzing over 200,000 archaeological specimens to date. We use techniques including neutron activation analysis and x-ray fluorescence to reconstruct past social networks and ancient technologies, and to map human migrations and long-distance exchange. This talk will present some recent highlights and new initiatives going on at the Archaeometry Lab at MURR.