pxrf-seac-title1NCPTT’s David W. Morgan and Jason Church presented preliminary results of portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analysis of copper at the joint Louisiana Archaeological Society and Mississippi Archaeological Association meeting.  The meeting was held in Natchez, Miss. from February 27-March 1, 2009.  Their paper was first presented with Jeff Girard and Timothy Perttula at the 65th Annual Southeastern Archaeological Conference held in Charlotte, North Car. from November 12-15, 2008.

Portion of the spectra produced by pXRF of a sheet of copper from the Gahagan site.

Portion of the spectra produced by pXRF of a sheet of copper from the Gahagan site.

Although copper items are widely distributed throughout the southern Caddo Area, the number and quality of items found at one locale, the Gahagan Site (16RR1) in Red River Parish, Louisiana, are without parallel in the region.  Using data from Gahagan, NCPTT presents the initial results of what is the first piece of a larger project to examine the potential of pXRF technology for comparing copper artifacts within and between assemblages.  PXRF identified the abundant elements associated with copper corrosion and remnant sediment, but it also identified trace elements present in native copper in trace quantities that may be critical for sourcing and collection comparison. We are now poised to begin comparing pXRF data with more powerful laboratory techniques.

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