|IAEA TECHNICAL REPORTS SERIES No. 416 - 2003|
Identification of archaeological artefacts according to morphological or stylistic criteria sometimes cannot be readily achieved between different production sites or origins based on visual inspection alone. Chemical analysis, together with statistical data treatment, is used extensively to supplement archaeological investigations when provenance studies or socioeconomic aspects are concerned. A number of different analytical techniques have been applied with varying degrees of success, but all of them need to have multi-element capability and sufficient sensitivity to detect traces of elements in the various matrices. Coins and other metallic artefacts, stones and obsidians, pottery, and wooden tiles and other organic material artefacts, have all been subjected to chemical fingerprinting and provenancing. The real success story of this technique, however, comes from the investigation of ceramics dating.