The application of chemistry within archaeology is an important and fascinating area. It allows the archaeologist to answer such questions as "what is this artefact made of?", "where did it come from?" and "how has it been changed through burial in the ground?", providing pointers to the earliest history of mankind. Archaeological Chemistry begins with a brief description of the goals and history of archaeological science, and the place of chemistry within it. It sets out the most widely used analytical techniques in archaeology and compares them in the light of relevant applications. The book includes an analysis of several specific archaeological investigations in which chemistry has been employed in tracing the origins of or in preserving artefacts. The choice of these investigations conforms to themes based on analytical techniques, and includes chapters on obsidian, ceramics, glass, metals and resins. Finally, it suggests a future role for chemical and biochemical applications in archaeology. Archaeological Chemistry enables scientists to tackle the fundamental issues of chemical change in the archaeological materials, in order to advance the study of the past. It will prove an essential companion to students in archaeological science and chemistry, field and museum archaeologists, and all those involved in conserving human artefacts.
A. Mark Pollard is Edward Hall Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Oxford, UK. His research has encompassed the application of the physical sciences, particularly chemistry, to archaeology.
The Development of Archaeological Chemistry; Analytical Techniques Applied to Archaeology; Obsidian Characterization in the Eastern Mediterranean; The Geochemistry of Clays and the Provenance of Ceramics; The Chemistry and Corrosion of Archaeological Glass; The Chemical Study of Metals - The European Medieval and Later Brass Industry; The Chemistry and Use of Resinous Substances; Amino Acid Stereochemistry and the First Americans; Lead Isotope Geochemistry and the trade in Metals; Summary - Whither Archaeological Chemistry?; Appendix I: The Structure of the Atom and the Electromagnetic Spectrum; Appendix II: Isotopes; Appendix III: Fundamental Constants; Appendix IV: Atomic Number and the Approximate Weights of the Elements; Appendix V: Periodic Table of the Elements; Subject Index.