Quick Tips: Archaeological Techniques –Use of Isotopes in Archaeology.

Isotopes in archaeology. Not just a baseball team in Albuquerque.

All Things AAFS!

Isotopic analysis is widely used within the worlds of archaeology and anthropology. From analysing isotopes we’re able to uncover a wide range of information regarding the past; ranging from palaeoenvironments to palaeodiets, and even using isotopes to reconstruct trade routes of materials.

But first, what are isotopes?

All of the chemical elements consist of atoms which are specific to the element and the mass of an atom is dictated by the number of protons and neutrons it contains. The identity of the chemical element depends on the number of protons found within the atom’s nucleus, but the number of neutrons within the atom can vary. Atoms of the same chemical element (same number of protons), but with different masses, which is from the varying amount of neutrons, are called isotopes.

Stone Circle at Drombeg Within nature, most of the elements consist of a number of isotopes. These isotopes can be…

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About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee musician ... mostly
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2 Responses to Quick Tips: Archaeological Techniques –Use of Isotopes in Archaeology.

  1. Mel says:

    The article failed to mention the cost of each test. Is this another great tool that is out of the grasp of most Archaeologists due to its high cost?

    • Here’s a bad answer; maybe, but coming down. It depends if you are in a department where this is going on. If so, it seems to be cheap. If not, I understand it is variable. It’s not common enough for us yet in the U.S. to apply generally.

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