Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scientific Examination of Art: Modern Techniques in Conservation and Analysis

There seems to be a plethora of book announcements recently apropos to archaeometry. 

Here is an online book from the National Academy of Sciences, from 2005, 252 pages. The description:

In March 2003, the National Academy of Sciences Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia presented the Scientific Examination of Art: Modern Techniques in Conservation and Analysis at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, DC. Featuring senior investigators of specific methods and materials, the papers in this book examine the application of scientific methods to the study and conservation of art and cultural properties.
The Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia of the National Academy of Sciences address scientific topics of broad and current interest, cutting across the boundaries of traditional disciplines and attracting up to 250 leading researchers in the field. These colloquia are made possible by a generous gift from Mrs. Jill Sackler, in memory of her husband, Arthur M. Sackler.
For more information about the Sackler Colloquia, visit www.nasonline.org/sackler


John Winter

Biodeterioration of Stone
Thomas D. Perry IV, Christopher J. McNamara, and Ralph Mitchell

Multi-Spectral Imaging of Paintings in the Infrared to Detect and Map Blue Pigments
John K. Delaney, Elizabeth Walmsley, Barbara H. Berrie, and Colin F. Fletcher

Modern Paints
Tom Learner

Paint Media Analysis
Michael R. Schilling

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ancient Earthquakes book

This post qualifies for both my blogs, socarchsci.blogspot.com on archaeometry, and my other one, shakingearth.blogspot.com on earthquakes.

The Geological Society of America has come out with a volume on Ancient Earthquakes, edited by Manuel Sintubin, Iain S. Stewart, Tina M. Niemi, and Erhan Altunel, 2010, 280 p., $85.

Ancient earthquakes are pre-instrumental earthquakes that can only be identified through indirect evidence in the archaeological (archaeoseismology) and geological (palaeoseismology) record. Special Paper 471 includes a selection of cases convincingly illustrating the different ways the archaeological record is used in earthquake studies. The first series of papers focuses on the relationship between human prehistory and tectonically active environments, and on the wide range of societal responses to historically known earthquakes. The bulk of papers concerns archaeoseismology, showing the diversity of approaches, the wide range of disciplines involved, and its potential to contribute to a better understanding of earthquake history. Ancient Earthquakes will be of interest to the broad community of earth scientists, seismologists, historians, and archaeologists active in and around archaeological sites in the many regions around the world threatened by seismic hazards. This Special Paper frames in the International Geoscience Programme IGCP 567 “Earthquake Archaeology: Archaeoseismology along the Alpine-Himalayan Seismic Zone.”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Archaeological science in the Israel Journal of Earth Sciences

This being Christmas (although not part of my particular religious persuasion), I thought I would post something about archaeological science in the modern day country where some of the events pertaining to that holiday supposedly took place.

Israel Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume 56, Number 2 - 4 / 2007
Special Issue: Archaeological Science in Israel
Guest Editor(s): Elisabetta Boaretto, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Sariel Shalev, Steve Weiner, Ehud Weiss
Foreword by the Guest Editors; pp. i – ii; Elisabetta Boaretto, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Sariel Shalev, Steve Weiner, Ehud Weiss.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.i
Archaeology, archaeological science, and integrative archaeology ; pp. 57 – 61; Steve Weiner.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.57
Micromorphology of sediments: Deciphering archaeological context; pp. 63 – 71; Panagiotis Karkanas and Paul Goldberg.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.63
Approaches to understanding formation of archaeological sites in Israel: Materials and processes; pp. 73 – 86; Ruth Shahack-Gross.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.73
Reading the field: Geoarchaeological codes in the Israeli landscape; pp. 87 – 106.  Oren Ackermann.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.87
Assessing Paleolithic pyrotechnology and associated hominin behavior in Israel; pp. 107 – 121; Francesco Berna and Paul Goldberg.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.107
Four decades of Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis and its contribution to the archaeology of the ancient land of Israel; pp. 123 – 132; Joseph Yellin and Aren M. Maeir.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.123
A brief outline summary of nonferrous archaeometallurgy in Israel; pp. 133 – 138; Sariel Shalev.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.133
Wood remains from archaeological excavations: A review with a Near Eastern perspective; pp. 139 – 162; Simcha Lev-Yadun.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.139
Plant remains as a tool for reconstruction of the past environment, economy, and society: Archaeobotany in Israel; pp. 163 – 173; Ehud Weiss and Mordechai E. Kislev.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.163
Fire in prehistory: An experimental approach to combustion processes and phytolith remains; pp. 175 – 189; Rosa María Albert and Dan Cabanes.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.175
Archaeomalacological research in Israel: The current state of research; pp. 191 – 206; Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.191
Determining the chronology of an archaeological site using radiocarbon: Minimizing uncertainty;  pp. 207 – 216; Elisabetta Boaretto.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.207
Molecular archaeology: People, animals, and plants of the Holy Land; pp. 217 – 229; Marina Faerman, Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Israel Hershkovitz, Mark Spigelman, Charles L. Greenblatt.  DOI: 10.1560/IJES.56.2-4.217

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2010

Archaeology Magazine has compiled the top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2010. As you might expect, most of them are fascinating archaeological sites from around the world. However, two discoveries are more technical: the technique of non-destructive carbon-dating, developed by Marvin Rowe and colleagues at Texas A&M. Additionally, scientists in Germany were commended for decoding the Neanderthal genome. Congratulations to both groups, and looking forward to more fantastic analytical methodologies in 2011 and beyond!

Monday, December 20, 2010

ISA 2012 in Belgium

The improved ISA web site is already lists the next International Symposium on Archaeometry in Belgium in 2012. Put it on your calendar.

What will be the venue of the next American ISA for 2014?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anthropogy as science? Anthropology vs. science?

From:  "Anthropology a Science? Statement Deepens a Rift," by Nicholas Wade, Published: December 9, 2010, NY Times
Anthropologists have been thrown into turmoil about the nature and future of their profession after a decision by the American Anthropological Association at its recent annual meeting to strip the word “science” from a statement of its long-range plan.

The decision has reopened a long-simmering tension between researchers in science-based anthropological disciplines — including archaeologists, physical anthropologists and some cultural anthropologists — and members of the profession who study race, ethnicity and gender and see themselves as advocates for native peoples or human rights.

Until now, the association’s long-range plan was “to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects.” The executive board revised this last month to say, “The purposes of the association shall be to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects.”  
See the full article for more.

From Savage Chickens:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Portable xrf used to provenance clay tablets

From AAAS Eureka Alert:

By adapting an off-the-shelf portable x-ray lab tool that analyzes the composition of chemicals, Prof. Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations can reveal hidden information about a [clay] tablet's composition without damaging the precious ancient find itself. These x-rays reveal the soil and clay composition of a tablet or artefact, to help determine its precise origin.

Over the years, he has collected extensive data through physical "destructive" sampling of artefacts. By comparing this data to readouts produced by the XRF device, he's built a table of results so that he can now scan a tablet –– touching the surface of it gently with the machine ― and immediately assess its clay type and the geographical origin of its minerals.

The tool, he says, can also be applied to coins, ancient plasters, and glass, and can be used on site or in a lab. He plans to make this information widely available to other archaeological researchers.
This sounds like a great combination of portable xrf, as calibrated by lab-based methods

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Springer book on xrf in archaeology

Springer seems to be on a roll with archaeometry books! Here is another one edited by a veteran member and officer of the SAS, Steve Shackley.

X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry in Twenty-First Century Archaeology
M. Steven Shackley
2011, doi 10.1007/978-1-4419-6886-9_1
link to web site

Chapters in book:
X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry in Twenty-First Century Archaeology; M. Steven Shackley

An Introduction to X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analysis in Archaeology; M. Steven Shackley

Factors Affecting the Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) Analysis of Archaeological Obsidian; M. Kathleen Davis, Thomas L. Jackson, M. Steven Shackley, Timothy Teague and Joachim H. Hampel

Non-destructive EDXRF Analyses of Archaeological Basalts; Steven P. Lundblad, Peter R. Mills, Arian Drake-Raue and Scott Kekuewa Kikiloi

Non-destructive Applications of Wavelength XRF in Obsidian Studies; Annamaria De Francesco, M. Bocci and G. M. Crisci

Portable XRF of Archaeological Artifacts: Current Research, Potentials and Limitations; Ioannis Liritzis and Nikolaos Zacharias

Elemental Analysis of Fine-Grained Basalt Sources from the Samoan Island of Tutuila: Applications of Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) Toward an Intra-Island Provenance Study; Phillip R. Johnson

Comparison and Contrast Between XRF and NAA: Used for Characterization Of Obsidian Sources in Central Mexico; Michael D. Glascock

Is There a Future for XRF in Twenty-First Century Archaeology?; Rosemary A. Joyce

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Open Journal of Archaeometry

A new online archaeometry journal will also host the proceedings from the Insternational Symposium on Archaeomtry recently held in Tampa.  Do we need another archaeometry journal?  What are the pros and cons of having one online?

Editor-in-chief Ingmar Unkel writes the following on the journal home page:

"We cannot yet offer you a journal with a long history and reputation, but we can guarantee fast and high quality services for authors and publication online within 3 weeks of the acceptance date. To ensure publication precedence for authors, and to provide a lasting record of scientific discussion, the articles are permanently archived and fully citable. With respect to the goals of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, Open Access to scientific and scholarly literature means to us "its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited". The more, we believe that articles that are available by Open Access are likely to be read and cited more often than those not Open Access. Publicly-funded research should be made available to be read and used without access barriers. It is beneficial for the general public to have access to published scientific articles."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Consumer's Guide to Archaeological Science

Since we are on the theme of new books in archaeological science (thanks Rob), here is another one to add to the list:

A Consumer's Guide to Archaeological Science: Analytical Techniques
Mary E. Malainey
Charles E Orser, Editor
Michael B. Schiffer, Editor

2011, 603 pages

ISBN 978-1-4419-5703-0

This volume is also available online as PDFs for purchase.

From the Preface:

"The information presented should enable an archaeologist to understand and critically evaluate:
-the suitability of various analytical techniques to address particular archaeological questions;
-the data generated through the application of these techniques
-the validity of the archaeological interpretations made on the basis of the data."