Non-destructive provenance study of cuneiform tablets using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF)

Yuval Goren, Hans Mommsen, Jörg Klinger

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70 Scopus citations

Abstract

Portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) apparatus of the last generation was tested to determine its potential for routine provenance determination of clay cuneiform tablets, which cannot be analyzed by "classical" intrusive methods. A group of tablets from Hattuša (Boĝazköy) and from el Amarna, which were previously provenanced using optical mineralogy (OM) and instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), was analyzed by pXRF and the results were used to establish the grouping according to their elemental concentrations. These groups were compared with the previous results retrieved by OM and INAA in order to confirm their validity. The results corroborate the high potential of the pXRF for non-destructive study of well-defined, 'closed' assemblages of clay-derived, delicate artifacts, such as cuneiform tablets, bullae, and fine-ware pottery. Consequently, a group of previously unexamined tablets from Hattuša was analyzed by pXRF and the results are discussed with implications on future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-696
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

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