With increasing archaeological applications of natural and physical scientific technology, there is an increased need to train students in their principles, application, interpretation and reporting. By doing this, students are able to compete successfully in a changing employment landscape. Working in tandem with Prof Tyrone Rooney (Geological Sciences), William Lovis and Rooney were awarded a $48,000 Provost’s Office TLE grant for purchase of a handheld (portable) X-Ray Florescence (pXRF) instrument for student training and research in advanced technologies. The Bruker Environmental Tracer unit acquired for this purpose will be housed in Geological Sciences. Lovis, along with graduate students Frank and Nicole Raslich, have undertaken EHS and State of Michigan training certification for use of analytical X-ray apparatus.
The portable XRF is in common use in archaeology and museum studies as a vehicle for evaluating artifacts to determine their material sources, compositions, technologies, and transmission. This can help answer questions about tool production, migration, manufacturing processes and more. The technology is effectively applied to a broad range of raw material categories common in archaeological analysis, including ceramics, stone, metals, glass, pigments, food remains and others. Moreover, the technology is in use in facilities at universities, museums, government agencies, and in private enterprise. Students appropriately trained in this technology will have an advantage in a competitive employment market especially in Heritage Management and environmentally related programs and projects funded by public dollars. These careers place a premium on the ability to employ various cutting edge technologies, portable XRF among them. Bruker Environmental will provide a comprehensive, on-site, training session at MSU for potential users. Students will be informed of scheduling particulars, and are urged to take advantage of this training opportunity when presented.
This article is in the Department of Anthropology’s Spring 2015 Newsletter, see the entire newsletter here.05.04.15