R. E. Taylor & SAS Student Poster Awards
The SAS has a longstanding program of awards for outstanding student conference posters in the realm of archaeometry. The prestigious R.E. Taylor Student Poster Award acknowledges innovative student contributions to archaeological research through the use of scientiﬁc methods, and has enhanced the careers of prominent young scholars and professionals for more than two decades. The award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and his dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, his leading role as President (1980) and General Secretary (1981-2002) of the Society, and his committed service as Editor of the SAS Bulletin. Professor Taylor's many valuable contributions were recognized by the Society of American Archaeology in 2004 with the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research.
These awards are typically given yearly at the Society for American Archaeology annual meeting and every other year at the International Symposium on Archaeometry. In some years poster or presentation competitions are administered by SAS at other conferences under the R.E. Taylor program or through SAS sponsorship of awards judged by the conference organizers. Event organizers interested in an SAS-sponsored award should review our co-sponsorship guidelines and contact SAS as far in advance of the event as possible.
R. E. Taylor Student Poster Award Competition at the 88th SAA Annual Meeting
The Society for Archaeological Sciences invites applications for the R.E. Taylor Poster Award at the 88th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Portland, Oregon. The award consists of $200 USD and a complimentary 2023 SAS membership. A runner-up prize will include $100 USD and SAS membership. Both winners are expected to provide the SAS with a ~500 word extended abstract based on their poster for publication in the SAS Bulletin. The Society will further publicize the winners and their research via social media.
Good luck to everyone!
2022 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 43rd International Symposium on Archaeometry, May 16-20, 2022, Lisbon, Portugal (see next page for winners since 1998)
Yun Zhang (University of Oxford): "The Archaeological and Scientific Analysis of Chinese cobalt-blue-decoration ceramics from the 7th to 13th century CE"
This paper reviews studies of Tang (618-907 CE) and Song (960-1279 CE) blue-and-white porcelains, both archaeologically and scientifically, based on published data, and compares blue-and-white with sancai which represents the earliest use of cobalt pigment in Chinese ceramics. Thirty-nine Tang blue-and-white wares and seven Song wares have been excavated from city sites, kilns, a tomb, a shipwreck, and temples. These findings identify Tang blue-and-white as export ware related to the Maritime Silk Road or suggest it was produced for foreigners in China for daily use or personal collection. Also, the results reflected the connection with Buddhist culture. All Tang and Song blue-and-white are vessels and the motifs on them are plants, insects, child, geometric and combination patterns. Palmette and lozenge motifs show the influence of Middle Eastern taste. Additionally, we re-analyse and discuss the previous scientific evidence of Tang and Song blue-and-white, including body, glaze, and cobalt pigment to reveal the origin of materials and technology of Tang blue-and-white porcelain. The raw pigment of Tang blue-and-white was possibly inherited from sancai, probably from the Middle East, and the biscuit body and high-fired clear lime glaze were provided by white porcelain. And Song blue-and-white may utilise native cobalt ore, which possibly was from Zhejiang.
You can see the poster below:
2022 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 87th Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, March 30-April 3, 2022 Chicago, IL
Eunice Villasenor Iribe (Arizona State University): "A Statistical Comparison of the Physical Characteristics of Terracing in the Basin of Mexico"
The Basin of Mexico is a culturally and environmentally dynamic region that has been occupied for thousands of years. The region is semi-arid in climate, which has made large scale habitation difficult without modifications of the landscape. One such type of modification that has been utilized by a variety of ancient groups is agricultural terracing. Previous studies of terracing in the Americas have found that terraces often occur within a limited range of topographic conditions. This range may indicate where terracing was viewed as being the most productive. Understanding how terracing was applied at a variety of the archaeological sites in the Basin of Mexico provides insight into the planning of agricultural production in the region. This analysis is based on the mapping of terrace features among 4 separate hilltops: Cerro Ahumada, Cerro Gordo, Cerro San Lucas, and Cerro Chiconautla. The terrace features for each site were then analyzed to determine if they occurred within a specific range for slope, vegetation cover (NDVI), soil moisture (NDMI), and aspect. The results support the idea that there does appear to be a general topographic range for agricultural terraces which may correspond to a limit for productivity.
You can download the poster as a PDF here and see the poster below:
This list is composed of awards administered under the R.E. Taylor student poster prize competition, usually (but not always) held at the Society for American Archaeology annual meeting and/or the International Symposium on Archaeometry. Please note that this list does not include the many SAS-sponsored awards administered by partner conferences; only competitions managed and judged by SAS are included here.
2021 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: International Obsidian Conference 2021, April 30-May 2, 2021 Virtual
Benjamin D. Smith (University of Florida): "Imports and Outcrops: Characterizing the Baantu Obsidian Quarry, Wolaita, Ethiopia, Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence"
Stone quarries are crucial nodes in the complex networks constituting hunter-gatherer economies. However, our knowledge of how these networks evolved in the late Pleistocene Horn of Africa is hindered by a paucity of well-studied quarries. The Baantu obsidian quarry in SW Ethiopia was exploited by the Pleistocene occupants of nearby Mochena Borago Rockshelter for over 50 thousand years and continues to be the preferred source of toolstone for Wolaita hideworkers today. It is composed of both in-situ outcrops and massive quantities of surface artifacts ranging from Early to Later Stone Age types. While the outcrops have clearly been mined, these surface materials may also have been a valuable source of toolstone. Distinguishing between the two geochemically is crucial when tracing the movement of this obsidian across the landscape. This poster describes the first geochemical characterization of these outcrops and some surface materials, using portable X-Ray Fluorescence (Bruker IIIeV Tracer +). Across most elements, simple cluster analysis reveals a distinct outcrop signature and a mix of imported and locally made obsidian artifacts on the surface. We must therefore consider both outcrop mining and recycling of non-local materials as important aspects of the behavioral variability associated with Pleistocene stone economies, particularly at sites like Mochena Borago with deep and prolonged occupational histories that span multiple periods of climatic and likely social change. You can download the poster as a PDF here and see the poster below:
2019 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 84th Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, April 10-14, 2019 Albuquerque, NM
Catherine Klesner (University of Arizona), B. L. MacDonald (University of Missouri), and P. Vandiver (University of Arizona): "Regional Production and Trade of Glazed Ceramics in Medieval Central Asia along the Silk Road"
Analyses by NAA and LA-ICP-MS of 106 ceramics excavated from archaeological sites in southern Kazakhstan has demonstrated local production of lead-glazed ceramics during the Early and Middle Islamic periods in Central Asia. The sherds, including both glazed (n=39) and unglazed ceramics (n=67), were excavated from seven medieval sites dated from the 9th to 15th c. CE and located north of the Tien Shan mountains. Compositional analysis of the ceramic pastes by NAA indicates that there are three distinct compositional groups for the lead-glazed ceramics. Comparison of the glazed ceramic NAA data to more than 1300 previously analyzed ceramics from Southwest Asia, Central Asia, and China indicates both an active local production of lead-glazed ceramics, and trade of specialty and glazed ceramics into the region from Southwest Asia. While the paste composition of the glazed groups is well defined, LA-ICP-MS data of the major, minor, or trace elements of the glazes does not distinguish the same compositional groups. Characterization by SEM-EDS and EMPA of examples of ceramics from the three lead-glazed compositional groups examines the technological variation within and between the locally produced Central Asian and imported Islamic lead-glazed wares.
Eunice Villasenor Iribe (Arizona State University), Christopher T. Morehart (Arizona State University), and Andrés Mejia (Pennsylvania State University): "The Distribution and Characterization of Agricultural Terraces on Cerro de la Mesa Ahumada, Mexico."
This poster presents preliminary results of ancient landscape modifications on Cerro de la Mesa Ahumada, a medium sized mountain between the northern Basin of Mexico and the southern Mezquital. Humans have used the hill at least since the Epiclassic period (ca. 600-900 CE) for human occupation, farming, or ranching. Terrace systems are located throughout the hillslopes. Documenting the extent, distribution, and chronology of the terraces is essential to understand the connections between anthropogenic landscapes, agricultural production, and demography. We present several lines of data to better refine our understanding of the terraces: (1) GIS maps made using satellite data; (2) topographic data collected with total stations; (3) GPS data from fieldwalking; (4) topographic data produced using drones; and (5) excavation data. These combined lines of data allow us to propose preliminary interpretations of form, function, distribution, and chronology of the terraces and their role in the ancient economic systems of the hills’ inhabitants.
Rachel Cajigas (University of Arizona): "Early Agricultural Practices at La Playa, Sonora, Mexico"
This poster presents results from geoarchaeological research on earthen irrigation canals at La Playa (SON F:10:3), in Sonora, Mexico. La Playa’s agricultural field system is associated with the Early Agricultural period (2100 B.C. – A.D. 50), which is characterized by the development of agriculture in the southwest United States and northwest Mexico. A combined dating strategy using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating on canal sediments and radiocarbon dating on charcoal and semi-aquatic snails was used to date canals. The dates are between 450 B.C. – A.D. 550, a significant period both culturally and environmentally. These dates cluster at the transition between the Cienega phase of the Early Agricultural period (800 B.C. – A.D. 50) and the Trincheras period (A.D. 150 – 1450). During this time, a variety of paleoenvironmental proxies from the southwest region indicate a period of unusually wet winters followed by a drying trend. At La Playa, these dates correspond with a period of peak groundwater discharge and low energy overbank deposition followed by major erosion. The environmental and geochronological data indicate that early agricultural practices were correlated to changing environmental and depositional conditions on the La Playa floodplain throughout the Early Agricultural period.
2018 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 42nd International Symposium on Archaeometry, May 20-26 in Merida, Mexico
Ángela Ejarque Gallardo (Posgrado en Estudios Mesoamericanos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencia para la Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural LANCIC-IF, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Carlos Serrano Sánchez (Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), M. Luisa Vázquez de Ágredos Pascual (Departamento de Historia del Arte, Universidad de Valencia): “Colored bones. Methodology for studying the funeral body painting of three neighborhoods of Teotihuacan”
The ritual and corporal use of color is manifested in Teotihuacan in various surfaces and contexts, including representations mural paintings and anthropomorphic figurines adorned with decorative motifs together with faces and bodies painted in various colors. Other archaeological evidence highlighting the importance of corporal painting in Teotihuacan society is found in mortuary contexts, especially burials and bones that conserve chromatic materials remains on their surfaces. Studying color on bones provides therefore outstanding information about the mortuary customs and rituals of one of the most representative Mesoamerican societies in Central Mexico from the characterization of the colorant materials that were used for funerary purposes. In this study we focus on several burial sites from three neighborhoods in the city of Teotihuacan: La Ventilla, Teopancazco and the Oaxacan Barrio. These sites were populated from the Classic period (100-200 AD) by peoples of diverse geographical and cultural origins. After a selective sampling, our material analysis using Optic Microscopy (OM), X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM/EDX), Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR), Raman Spectroscopy and X Ray Diffraction (XRD) show the wide variety of materials used at Teotihuacan to prepare color funerary recipes from mineral pigments, calcium compounds, clays and natural earths. These were mixed with materials that have conservation and antibacterial properties. Our results allow us to analyze the practical and symbolic uses of color for specific purposes and to establish a methodology for studying pigments from archaeological bone surfaces.You can view the poster in PDF format.
Jennifer Campos-Ayala (Department of Chemistry, Eastern Michigan University), Ruth Ann Armitage (Department of Chemistry, Eastern Michigan University), Reneé Stein (Michael C. Carlos Museum and Department of Art History, Emory University) Rebecca R. Stone (Michael C. Carlos Museum and Department of Art History, Emory University): “Purple Dyes from the Carlos Museum Pre-Columbian Textiles Collection: Direct Mass Spectrometry and HPLC Analyses”
This work focuses on a selection of red, blue, and purple yarns sampled from the Michael C. Carlos Museum collection of ancient South American textiles, primarily those from the Nasca, Wari, and Chancay cultures to determine chemical composition of dyes used. Methods of analysis include High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), direct analysis in real time (DART), and paper spray (PS) mass spectrometry. Further studies with HPLC, in combination with the MS results, will provide a more complete picture of the source of these dye colorants. The chromatography further lends support to the use of direct mass spectrometry for the rapid classification of South American red dyes as being derived from locally-sourced plants such as Relbunium or from cochineal insects as well as for the differentiation of purple dyes as either pure or mixed materials. You can view poster in PDF format.
Emmie Beauvoit (IRAMAT-CRP2A, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France), Ayed Ben Amara (IRAMAT-CRP2A, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France), Christophe Sireix (Centre Archéologie Préventive de Bordeaux Métropole, France), Valérie Marache (Centre Archéologie Préventive de Bordeaux Métropole, France), Rémy Chapoulie (IRAMAT-CRP2A, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France): " The Johnston – Vieillard manufactory (19th century, Bordeaux, France): preliminary results on white earthenware production"
The Johnston–Vieillard manufactory (1835-1895) used to be an industry flagship in the Bordeaux area (France) for several decades in the nineteenth century. The manufactory produced ‘white earthenware’ that was notorious for its formal and aesthetic aspects. Yet, some unsolved questions remain regarding the evolution of ceramic production techniques during the 19th century. Furthermore, in the literature, very few studies address the specific class of ceramics called ‘white earthenware’ according to Maggetti et al (2011; 2015). In the case of the Johnston–Vieillard manufactory, a recent excavation in the ancient factory area has provided significant quantities of wasted materials as well as the different elements of ceramics chaîne opératoire. Consequently, this archaeological discovery has offered us a unique perspective to consider the industrial techniques of ceramics production in Bordeaux in the 19th century. This present research focuses on the technical evolution of the white earthenware productions during the different chronological periods of the factory life. In order to do this, a physico-chemical characterization was performed using a combination of analytical techniques that included optical microscopy, SEM-EDS and X-Ray diffraction. A group of 150 sherds, which are representative of the successive periods of the manufactory, were analyzed. The composition of the ceramic body was investigated in order to collect information concerning ceramic characteristics and production technology.You can view the poster in PDF format.
Mariana Tovalín González Iturbe (Maestra Estudios Mesoamericanos, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México): "Interdisciplinary study of archaeological wood. Ritual objects in three caves of Morelos-Mexico"
The importance of the current investigation relies on the integral study of the wooden ritual implements which were recovered in agrarian offerings from Formative inside Chagüera, Gallo and Tláloc caves in the state of Morelos. In this research, supported by paleoethnobotany, experimental archeology, the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and the implementation of a 3D scanner, it was possible to establish not only the materials used to elaborate the implements, but also the probable places where the raw material was obtained as well as the manufacture techniques, and the amount of time invested in the elaboration process. All this opens a new perspective for investigation on archeological wood.
The results point towards an intensive use of pinewood as an essential part of the offerings. It is interesting to note that the closest coniferous woods are located to an approximate distance of 40 km. This leads to the conclusion that in order to perform the rituals inside the venues, there was a definite concern to obtain allochthonous resources. Finally, the data collected after the technological analysis revealed the use of obsidian and basalt instruments to manufacture the objects, factor which is added, together with the selection of raw materials and working techniques, to the standardized elaboration process of the implements.You can view the poster in PDF format.
2018 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 83rd Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, April 11-15, 2018 Washington, DC
Ashley B. Maxwell (University of South Florida) and Robert H. Tykot(University of South Florida) : "stable Isotope Analysis of the Diet of Romans in the Veneto from Late Antiquity to the Medieval Period"
Limited isotopic research has been conducted in the Veneto, Italy during the transitional period after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and arrival of the Germanic Langobards in the sixth century AD. Questions remain of the local implications of diet during this period of instability, when invasions and population decline occurred. Thus, this research compares Roman and Langobard populations from late antiquity tot he medieval period using stable isotope analysis on bone collagen, apatite, and tooth enamel for 78 human individuals and 10 faunal remains to investigate diet in the Veneto. The results indicate variations in diet within and between the populations. The late antiquity sites are more consistent with a C3 plant diet with some marine and terrestrial animal contributions, while the Longobard sites are more varied. This study shows that in late antiquity people in the Veneto still relied on a traditional Roman diet of fish and C3 resources after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; however, the incoming Langobards show variation in their utilization of resources, with some consuming more of a C4 diet with millet. this preliminary research may indicate a change in resource allocation during the initial transition into Italy for the Langobards. You can view the poster in PDF format
2017 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 82nd Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, March 29-April 2, 2017 Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sean W. Hixon (Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University), Emma A. Elliott Smith (Department of Biology, University of New Mexico), Brooke Crowley (Departments of Geology and Anthropology, University of Cincinnati), George Perry (Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University), Richard Bankoff (Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University), Douglas Kennett (Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University), Seth D. Newsome (Department of Biology, University of New Mexico) : "Patterns in Amino Acid 15N Values of Lemurs Are Inconsistent with Aridity Driving Megafaunal Extinction in Southwestern Madagascar"
Early human colonists of Madagascar encountered a diverse endemic fauna during the late Holocene that included elephant birds, pygmy hippos, and giant lemurs. All fauna >10 kg went extinct in the past 1,000-2,000 years. Direct human predation and anthropogenic landscape change help explain aspects of the extinction pattern. Increasing aridity may have also played a role in some regions, but its contribution remains controversial. We track changes in aridity during the past 4,000 years in southwestern Madagascar using nitrogen isotope (15N) values of individual amino acids preserved in bones from extinct Pachylemur and extant Propithecus from two subfossil sites: Tsirave and Taolambiby. We use the 15N values of source amino acids as a proxy for aridity and the spacing of 15N values between source and trophic amino acids to quantify the trophic position of these lemurs. Despite paleohydrological evidence for a lowering water table and paleoecological evidence for the expansion of relatively arid savanna between 4,000 and 1,000 years ago, the isotope data indicate that extinct lemurs did not live in increasingly arid habitats. Thus, aridity cannot be the primary driver of lemur extinction in southwestern Madagascar. You can view the poster in PDF format
Goldstein, S.T.1, Storozum, M.J. (Washington University in St Louis), Marshall, F.B. (Washington University in St Louis), Reid, R. (Washington University in St Louis), Wreshnig, A. (Washington University in St Louis), Kiura, P. (National Museums of Kenya), and S. Ambrose (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) : “Herder land-use in southern Kenya: geochemical analysis of soil enrichment”
Mobile herding societies are often considered to leave behind few traces in the archaeological record, however pastoral strategies may have helped shape the landscape itself. Herders relying on domesticated cattle, sheep and goat arrived in eastern Africa by 3200 years ago. Our collaborative research investigates the legacies of their land-use through multi-sited geoarchaeological analyses. Here, we present results of an ICP-MS geochemical study sampling five pastoralist archaeological sites and offsite controls from southern Kenya dating to between c. 2800-1300 cal BP. Analysis revealed that livestock-dung-derived deposits at the archaeological sites remain significantly enriched in Ca, K, Mg, Na, P, Sr, which are known to be important micro-nutrients for plant growth. In some samples, these elements were elevated in archaeological layers 40-400%, over background values. This research demonstrates small scale pastoralist land-use over millennia leaves a distinct imprint on the landscape and is inextricable from the natural history of these savanna ecologies. Larger systematic surveys will help resolve the ways in which mobile herders in Africa promote ecological resilience and biodiversity through creation of nutrient “hotspots.” You can view the poster in PDF format
2016 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: 41st International Symposium on Archaeometry, May 15-20 in Kalamata, Greece
Xiao Ma (University of California Los Angeles), and Guofeng Wei (Anhui University), Celestino Grifa (Università degli Studi del Sannio,), Yuhu Kang (Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology), Herant Khanjian (The Getty Conservation Institute), Ioanna Kakouilli (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology): "Analytical studies of historical earthen plasters: A case study on the earthen plasters on the inner-wall of the Longhu Hall in Yuzhen Palace of Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains"
The Yuzhen Palace, an imperial construction built under the order by Yongle Emperor during the Ming dynasty, is one of the 9 palaces in the Ancient Building Complex, a UNESCO world heritage site in the Wudang Mountains. The buildings were built with black bricks dressed with exterior earthen plasters. As a result of the planned national South-North Water Diversion project implemented by the Government of China, the water level in the Danjiangkou Reservoir that surrounds the Yuzhen Palace will rise approximately 15 meters. To avoid submersion of the site three gates were elevated by 15 meters in 2013 and other buildings dismantled, to be re-erected in the near future. The analysis of the earthen plasters has therefore become of primary importance, not only to better understand the ancient imperial construction technique and the raw materials used, but also to assist in the future re-erection and conservation of the buildings. This paper focuses on the characterization of materials from fragmented pieces of an earthen plaster sample from the Taoism temple Longhu Hall, from Yuzhen Palace. Various non-invasive and minimally invasive techniques were performed including optical microscopy, electron microscopy, XRF, Raman spectromicroscopy, FTIR, XRD and TGA. The earthen plaster consists of a four-layer structure, which includes (from top): a white wash made out of aerial lime and fine sand, an intermediate clay-rich layer with possible addition of a proteinaceous binder, a fine earthen plaster layer and a coarse earthen plaster layer consisting of a soil rich in goethite, quartz, lime lumps, Fe-oxides, mica and plagioclase. In addition, ramie fibers were found in both earthen plaster layers, whereas, straw fibers were identified only in the coarse plaster layer. The plant fibers were added to reduce the shrinkage and cracking during drying and to improve the flexural and tensile strength of the earthen plaster.You can view the poster in PDF format.
Ferdinand Drünert, and Doris Möncke, Magdalena Blanz, Zhiwen Pan and Lothar Wondraczek (Otto Schott Institute of Materials Research, Friedrich Schiller University): "What causes the color in Cu-red artifacts?"
Since early antiquity glasses and glazes are coloured red by coppercompounds - and since antiquity these glasses show very broad varieties of red. Today we know that the red colour is formed by metallic copper nanoparticles, based on plasmon resonance interaction with the light. However, until now we do not know why some of the red glasses are opaque, while others are transparent copper-ruby. In this study we invite you to take a look into our thoughts upon the opacity of some glass samples from medieval to modern time’s forest glass workshops in central Germany. We combined UV/Vis absorption and reflectance data with computional spectra of glasses containing copper and/or cuprite nanoparticles and compared the obtained data with Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction patterns. Surprisingly, we did not find the expected particles via SEM, but discovered instead phase-separation-like structures, leading to a completely new idea of Medieval opacification. You can view the poster in PDF format.
Jiri Kmosek and Martin Odler (University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague): "Diachronic changes of the Ancient Egyptian and Nubian metallurgy: Case study of the material from Egyptian Museum of Leipzig University"
This paper presents archaeometric and archaeological study of a set of copper and bronze artifacts found at the sites of ancient Egypt and Nubia, which are deposited in the collection of Ägyptisches Museum – Georg Steindorff – der Universität Leipzig. Examined artifacts have been found at several important sites: Abydos, Abusir, Giza and Aniba. They represent the development of Ancient Egyptian metallurgy in more than one and half millennium, from the Dynasty 1 (ca. 3100 – 2900 BC) until almost the end of the New Kingdom (ca. 1200 BC). Analyzed set of 86 artifacts and almost 100 samples is covering different typological groups of the artifacts, such as full-size tools, their models, full-size vessels and mirrors, etc.
Detailed technical analysis has been carried out with the aim to obtain or specify information about chemical or structural artifact composition, using wide range of analytical techniques. All artifacts have been documented by X-ray radiography and more complex artifacts by X-ray tomography. Selected artifacts have been studied by metallographic methods in combination with micro hardness tests and SEM/EBSD analysis for better understanding of the mechanical and heat treatment production techniques. Chemical composition analyses were carried out by methods of XRF, SEM/EDS and NAA with the aim to characterize metals alloys and present admixtures. On the set of analyzed artifacts is clearly visible evolution of the alloys use across the studied periods and geographical areas. All obtained analytical data have been statistically evaluated in the context of spatial distribution, dating and function of the studied artifacts, in order to contribute to more detailed and accurate knowledge of metal production techniques and materials used in the Ancient Egyptian metallurgy.You can view the poster in PDF format.
James A. Davenport (University of New Mexico): "Inka Craft and Ritual Production: Compositional Analysis of Ceramic Pastes and Pigments from the Temple of the Sun, Pachacamac"
In Andean South America during the Late Horizon (AD 1400 - 1532), rituals and ceremonies, both inclusive and exclusive, were a major part of the Inka Empire’s strategy for control of its subjects. These ceremonies involved the use of distinct Inka-style material culture, which has its origins in Cuzco but spread throughout the Andes with the expansion of territory of the empire Tawantinsuyu. The Inka required local craft producers to replicate these imperial styles as a part of their mit’a labor obligation to the state, though occasionally these styles were sometimes imported to provincial locations from the capital or other Inka centers. Pachacamac, on the central coast of Peru, was a major ritual and pilgrimage center in this period. This poster examines the chemical composition of pastes and pigments of ceramics found at the Temple of the Sun, the principal Inka structure at Pachacamac, using Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) and Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). This analysis is used in an attempt to understand the level of control and influence the Inka exerted over local craft producers, as well as the role that these ceramics played in the production of state-sponsored rituals and ceremonies.You can view the poster in PDF format.
Mechell, E. Frazier (Arizona State University): "Connectivity: Mapping Ritual Objects in the Prehispanic U.S. Southwest"
Many scholars have noted the connectivity between the Southwest and Mesoamerica, especially that of the Hohokam and cultural groups in North and West Mexico). In this case, connectivity is defined as a set of social processes and interactions, both direct and indirect, that link individuals and groups together. It involves multiple aspects of communication, observation, and exchange, all with varying costs. Archaeologists can investigate connectivity by studying changing social, economic, and geographic relationships of people and objects through time. Researchers can observe this relationship through the study of what Nelson (2006:345) calls “interaction markers”, artifacts and architectural styles that incorporate a Mesoamerican element (e.g., copper bells, macaws, ballcourts). Typically these markers were used in ritual contexts and were highly valued—albeit for different reasons—in the socioeconomic realms of the Hohokam (475-1450 CE). This paper will question whether these markers are present in both the Phoenix and Tucson basins and in equal frequencies. Specifically, are the two basins equally connected with Mesoamerica? Or do their respective connections change over time? Such connectivity may reveal how people in different parts of the Hohokam region would have been incorporating aspects of Mesoamerican rituals. One may look at the question of connectivity in several ways; this paper evaluates connectivity using distance as a way to understand how objects could have moved through space, and to evaluate the frequencies of artifacts deposited in each basin, respectively.You can view the poster in PDF format.
2015 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2014 - 80th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California
Kara Fulton (University of South Florida):"Shared Practices and Identities in the Northern Settlement of Actuncan, Belize"
This poster examines how urban families developed and shared neighborhood identities at the Maya city of Actuncan, Belize, ca. AD 800-900, a time when the city experienced rapid population growth as surrounding centers, including Xunantunich, declined. To investigate household relationships, this research considers the nature and location of activity patterns in and around three commoner households to infer shared practices and the shared identities that those activities both enabled and constrained. Multiple methods were employed, including subsurface testing, soil chemical residue analysis, and macro- and microartifact analysis. The data were examined spatially using geostatistics as well as with quantitative assessment. This research contributes to the understanding of urban processes of growth and decay in this region, and how they are linked to the behaviors of social factions in neighborhood communities.You can view the poster in PDF format.
Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky (University of California, Los Angeles):"Provenance Study of Obsidian Artifacts from the Neolithic Settlement of Masis Blur (Armenia) Using Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry"
Over the past two decades, provenance research on obsidian from Armenia has been on the rise, primarily for provenience purposes, however, with only few studies on obsidian archaeological artifacts. In these studies, the geochemical characterization of obsidian artifacts and geological sources was carried out using different laboratory-based techniques such as INAA, ICP-MS and XRF. The current project presents preliminary results obtained with a portable XRF (pXRF) on the chemical characterization and provenience of a selected obsidian assemblage from the aceramic Neolithic settlement of Masis Blur. This assemblage was used to assess the prevailing belief that the raw material for the majority of the artifacts was primarily coming from one of the two Arteni sources in Northwestern Armenia, this one being nearest to the settlement. The assemblage was analyzed to determine the number of geochemical groups present. Data are compared to geological samples from all known Armenian and one eastern Turkey source in an attempt to assign individual groups to specific obsidian sources. Thirteen distinct obsidian groups were identified and many of these were attributed to various sources in Armenia or eastern Turkey. The findings attest to a much wider obsidian source utilization network than previously thought for the Neolithic settlement.You can view the poster in PDF format.
2014 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2014 - 40th International Symposium on Archaeometry, May 19-23 in Los Angeles, California
María Teresa Plaza and Marcos Martinon-Torres (Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, United Kingdom) "Metallurgical Traditions Under Inka Rule: A Technological Study Of Metals And Technical Ceramics From The Aconcagua Valley In Central Chile"”
The Aconcagua Valley (Central Chile) is located in the southernmost limit of the Tawantinsuyu or Inka territory. In this area, some indicators of the Inka influence such as architecture, the Inka road, rock art and pottery have been largely studied, suggesting that the Inka developed a symbolic strategy to incorporate this area into the state. However, these studies have not considered the metallic and metallurgical evidence, which is both key in the Inka ideology, politics and expansion, and very distinctive of the Inka or Late Period in Central Chile. Considering that technology is culturally determined, this research uses an approach based on the analysis of the technical aspects of the metals and metallurgical ceramics to reveal important insights about the cultural choices and social dynamics of the groups using and/or producing metals in the area, and the influence of the Inka in those technologies. For this purpose, metallic artefacts and technical ceramics from two sites in the valley, Cerro La Cruz and Los Nogales, were subjected to analyses using SEM-EDS, optical microscopy, petrography, XDR and FTIR. These analytical techniques allowed to identify manufacturing techniques, raw materials, recipes and the extent of use of the metallic artefacts and technical ceramics. The results suggest that both sites represent different technological traditions. At Cerro La Cruz, the predominance of typologies and techniques rooted in the indigenous Diaguita Culture and the scarcity of bronze, indicate a conservatism that may reflect a cultural resistance to the Inka domain. Conversely, at Los Nogales, the presence of typical Inka perforated crucibles lined with bone ash, together with the use of bronze, point to a tradition closely related to the Inka expansion, also documented in north-western Argentina, which would reflect a cultural receptivity from some local groups towards new technologies and their associated values. These differences support the proposition that the Inka domination in the valley was heterogeneous and culturally contingent, and suggest a closer relationship between the state and some local groups, not previously identified. Poster in PDF Format
2014 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 204 - 79th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas
William Taylor (University of New Mexico):"Horseback Riding and Equine Cranial Morphology in the Mongolian Bronze Age"
The development of horseback riding was fundamentally important to the evolution of pastoral cultures in Eurasia. While early domestic horses may have also been used for load-bearing, meat, and secondary products, equestrianism made rapid, long-distance travel and fully nomadic pastoralism possible. In eastern Asia, linguistic and archaeological evidence suggests that horseback riding may have first been adopted in nomadic societies during the late 2nd millennium B.C. The precise timing and origins of equestrianism in the region, however, remain a matter of continuing debate. New radiocarbon results linked with bridle artifacts, iconography, and other lines of archaeological evidence point to the presence of horseback riding in Mongolia’s late Bronze Age “Deer Stone-Khirigsuur” complex (circa 1300-800 BCE). To test this hypothesis, a sample of 25 horse skulls from late Bronze Age monuments in Mongolia were scanned with a NextEngine 3D scanner and analyzed for both demographic and pathological information. Demographic profiles (inferred from eruption schedules, wear patterns, and crown height measurements) are consistent with expectations for a domestic population. Ossification along the occipital crest, along with newly documented remodeling in the incisive bone, suggest extended periods of exertion and point to human use. Comparison with crania of horses with a known life history supports the archaeological utility of these osteological changes. These results may provide new methodological approaches for investigating equestrianism in the archaeological record.You can view the poster in PDF format.
2013 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2013 - 78th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Honolulu, Hawaii
R. Kyle Bocinsky (Washington State University): “The Defensive Coast”
How do we recognize defensive behavior archaeologically? Recent attempts to create an index of site defensibility for the Northwest Coast and elsewhere have used a null model of zero defensibility; i.e., a site does not have any defensive advantage when approached from its immediate surroundings. Such a model is useful for comparing sites to one- another, but does not necessarily reflect an agent’s consideration of defensibility when choosing a place to be on a landscape. Instead, people make decisions in the context of their local and regional environments: their set of possible choices. In order to understand the importance of defensibility in past peoples’ behavior, we must first quantify the defensibility of their landscapes. In this poster, I build on a defensibility index developed by Martindale and Supernant (2009) by fully specifying their geospatial indices pertaining to visibility and elevation and adapting them to a raster landscape (a digital elevation model). I then examine the defensibility of recorded pre- and post-contact archaeological sites in the Gulf of Georgia and lower Fraser River valley of British Columbia in light of the baseline defensibility of the landscape. By doing so I am able to consider the extent to which choosing where to build is a defensive act. You can view the poster in PDF format.
2012 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2012 - 39th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Leuven, Belgium
Fabienne Eder (Vienna University of Technology) with co-authors Christian Neelmeijer, Nicholas J.G. Pearce, Johannes H. Sterba, Max Bichler, and Silke Merchel: “Chemical Fingerprinting of Hungarian and Slovakian Obsidian using Three Complimentary Analytical Techniques”
The natural volcanic glass obsidian is one of the classical objects of archaeometrical analyses. Reliable provenancing by means of its highly specific chemical composition, the “chemical fingerprint,” can provide information about economy, policy and the social system of ancient societies. Although Mediterranean obsidian have mainly been the focus of characterization since the pioneer work of Cann & Renfrew (1964), provenancing of Central and Eastern Europe obsidian sources attracts increasing attention in the past decades. Fingerprinting of Hungarian and Slovakian obsidian sources is of great interest especially for Central European sites where obsidian has been widely used (Williams-Thorpe et al., 1984; Kasztovszky et al., 2008; Biró, 2009). The application of three complementary analytical techniques on the same set of raw material samples allows both a more complete characterization of obsidian sources and a comparison of analytical results. The aim of this multi-methodical approach is to apply three different analytical methods, in particular:Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA), Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) comprising of Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and Particle Induced Gammaray Emission (PIGE), Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), to detect a maximum element spectrum and to compare element concentrations determined with at least two analytical techniques.This way a check of self-consistency of analytical results is possible. Furthermore, it allows the identification of a maximum of compositional differences between Hungarian and Slovakian sources by revealing the most characteristic “chemical fingerprint” composed of more than 40 elements. You can view the poster in PDF format.
Cann, J.R. and Renfrew, C., 1964. The characterization of obsidian and its application to the Mediterranean Region. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 30: 111-131.
Williams-Thorpe, O., Warren, S.E. and Nandris, J.G., 1984. The distribution and provenance of archaeological obsidian in central and eastern Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science 11: 183-212.
Kasztovszky, Z., Biró, K., Markó, A. and Dobosi, V., 2008. Prompt gamma activation analysis for non-destructive characterization of chipped stone tools and raw materials. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 278: 293-298.
Biró, K.T., 2009. Sourcing Raw Materials for Chipped Stone Artifacts: The State-of-the-Art in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin. In: Adams, B. and Blades, B.S. (Eds.) Lithic Materials and Paleolithic Societies.Wiley & Blackwell, pp. 47-53.
2012 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2012 - 77th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Memphis, Tennessee
Andrew M. Zipkin (Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program; Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology,Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University), Alison S. Brooks (Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology,Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University; Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution), John M. Hanchar (Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland), Jessica C. Thompson (School of Social Science, University of Queensland), and Elizabeth Gomani- Chindebvu (Malawi Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Culture): "On the formation and distribution of ochreous minerals in northern Malawi"
J. Desmond Clark’s Middle Stone Age excavations at Chaminade 1A, Karonga, Malawi during the 1960s yielded utilized ochre artefacts suggestive of pigment processing activities. Our 2011 survey of regional ochre deposits suggested that many potential sources are difficult-to-characterize, sedimentary rocks containing detrital minerals from diverse parent rocks. Here we report a new comparative study of three approaches to ochre provenance geochemistry. Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis and two variants of Laser Ablation – Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (1. Bulk Ochre “Paint Chip” Ablation and 2. Zircon Crystal Ablation) were applied to Malawian ochre source samples in order to test the Provenance Postulate and identify the minimum sample mass required for reliable characterization. Our results indicate that all three techniques are suitable for collecting trace element concentrations but several multivariate and specialized geological statistical analyses are required for effective interpretation of data derived from such sources. A future sourcing study of the Chaminade 1A ochre assemblage using one or more of these techniques is warranted. Here is the Poster in PDF Format
2011 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2011 - 76th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Sacramento, California
Alyson Thibodeau (University of Arizona) with Joaquin Ruiz, John T. Chelsey, and David J. Killick : "Determining the source of turquoise at Publo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico"
The geologic source (or sources) of turquoise found in the Great Houses of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico has been the subject of speculation for over a century. For the first time, high precision lead and strontium isotopic analyses have been applied to over 25 raw, partially worked, and finished turquoise objects recovered from the canyon’s largest Great House, Pueblo Bonito. The data from these turquoise artifacts are compared to the lead and strontium isotopic signatures of 18 major areas of turquoise mineralization in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, and Nevada and the sources represented by these objects are revealed.
Amy Commendador (Idaho Museum of Natural History and Department of Geosciences, Idaho State University), Bruce Finney (Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University) and John Dudgeon (Department of Anthropology, Idaho State University): "Small Mammal Isotopes as Potential Indicators of Climate Change on the Snake River Plain, Idaho"
Previous research on the small mammal population recovered from excavations at the Wasden Site in southeastern Idaho suggests that changing frequency distributions through time represent a shift in climate during the Holocene from a cooler, wetter regime to a warmer, drier one. This conclusion was re-evaluated using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen from the three primary species of small mammals examined in the earlier studies: pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides), pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis), and ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii). Results show 15N enrichment and increased representation of C4 vegetation through time, suggesting increasing warmth and aridity, thus supporting previous hypotheses of climate change on the eastern Snake River Plain. See a PDF of poster
Paul Szpak (Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario), Jean-François Millaire (Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario ), Fred J. Longstaffe (Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Western Ontario ), Christine D. White (Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario) "Effects of Seabird Guano Fertilization on the Stable Isotope Composition and Growth of Maize: Results from a Controlled Study"
Seabird guano from the arid western coast of South America was one of the most widely used fertilizers in the nineteenth century, although its importance in prehispanic agricultural systems has been difficult to determine. This paper presents data from a controlled study of maize fertilized with Peruvian seabird guano, outlining the effects of different fertilization regimes on maize growth and isotopic composition (δ13C and δ15N). All maize organs (leaves, grain, pollen capsules) were significantly enriched in 15N compared to control plants by at least 20‰. Moreover, the extent of 15N enrichment was greater with the application of a higher concentration of guano. The extreme 15N enrichment observed reflects the (1) the high trophic position of the birds responsible for the guano and (2) strong kinetic isotopic fractionations that are associated with the decomposition of uric acid (the primary component of avian excreta) to ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-), which are eventually absorbed and metabolized by the plants. The results of this study have important implications for the reconstruction of diet based on stable isotope analysis. The large 15N enrichment observed in maize fertilized with seabird guano has the potential to mirror a marine resource, and thus confound dietary interpretations. This is true not just for the Andean region, but throughout Europe and North America, where massive amounts of this guano were exported from the Peruvian coast during the nineteenth century. Poster in TIFF Format
2010 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2010 - 75th Anniversary of the Society for American Archaeology, St. Louis, Missouri
Dana Drake Rosenstein (School of Anthropology, University of Arizona) and James Feathers (Department of Anthropology, University of Washington): "Luminescence dating of samples from recent contexts in southern Africa"
The last 500 years represents one of the most formative periods of the southern African past, during which hunter-gatherers, agropastoralists and colonists interacted frequently and intensely on the shared landscape. From these contacts, modern southern African identities developed. A fine-grained historical understanding of this period requires the chronological sequence of archaeological site settlement and abandonment to be highly resolved.
Because of acute De Vries effects, radiocarbon dating is inadequate over this time period. Any radiocarbon age from approximately 300 BP to the present calibrates to an ambiguous calendar date spanning two or more centuries. For the recent past in South Africa, luminescence ages are potentially much more precise than radiocarbon dates. Using optically stimulated luminescence measurements on single coarse grains of quartz from midden sediments and thermoluminescence measurements on fine-grained quartz extracted from smelting remains, chronometric results with high precision have been obtained for these important southern African sites. Refined chronologies will enable archaeologists to map out ancient trade networks, identify centers of political economic power, explore the nature of relationships between communities and identify technological innovations in metallurgical and agro-pastoral production that occurred during the last 500 years.
These results further contribute to current research developing methodologies for measuring luminescence and calculating ages of samples from recent contexts (Arnold et al. 2009; Pietsch 2009). Challenges for luminescence dating of these young deposits include: (1) identifying the appropriate statistical age model to determine equivalent dose (De), or age, of samples in which up to 5% of grains have De d" 0; and (2) understanding high recuperation of the luminescence signal in up to 57% of individual grains. For some South African samples, luminescence age determination is constrained by associated artifacts of known manufacturing dates, such as glass trade beads. See a PDF of poster
Lisa Sonnenburg+, Joe Boyce+, Eduard Reinhardt+ and Aubrey Cannon* [+School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University *Department of Anthropology, McMaster University]: "Paleoenvironmental reconstruction and water-level fluctuations: Implications for understanding Paleoindian and Archaic archaeology in Southern Ontario"
Rice Lake has been continuously occupied for over 12,000 years. Despite its rich archaeological record, large areas of shoreline have been indundated by rising Holocene water-levels, limiting understanding of Paleoindian and Archaic subsistence strategies and settlement patterns. To gain a better understanding of the submerged landscape of Rice Lake and identify areas of archaeological interest, geophysical survey and sediment coring program was initiated. Quartz microdebitage dating to 10, 700 YBP was found in cores extracted adjacent to a terrestrial Archaic archaeological site. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction indicates Paleoindian peoples were exploiting resources associated with wetland/marsh environments and choosing easily accessible materials. See a PDF of poster
2010 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2010 - 38th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Tampa, Florida
Erika Nitsch, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford: "Quantifying changes in fish consumption in Roman and early medieval Italy using stable isotope analysis"
The collapse of the Roman Empire resulted in a large number of changes in the social, political and economic organization of central Italy. As Germanic populations moved into central Italy, documentary evidence suggests that they brought with them a change in eating habits, specifically a move away from the fresh and salt-preserved fish products of the Mediterranean, toward a diet high in terrestrial animal protein. Traditional ethno-historic and archaeological forms of evidence have agreed neither on the degree of dietary change in the post-Roman world, nor on its cause. Due to problems such as potential bias from ancient writers, and the difficulty of relating material culture to the people themselves, it is becoming increasingly important to consider additional sources of evidence from the natural sciences. Stable isotope analysis is able to reconstruct dietary patterns from human bone chemistry, allowing it to overcome some of these problems. The ability of stable isotope analysis to detect marine and freshwater fish makes it an ideal technique to study diet change in this period. This paper presents the results of stable isotope analysis of two rural Italian populations, from the Imperial Roman site of Casale del Dolce, and from the early medieval cemetery at S. Pietro di Villamagna, investigating a possible change in the amount of fish consumption between these two sites. Using the data from these sites, I show how creating a quantifiable model for fish consumption can enable more realistic comparisons between multiple sites. In this way, the basic dietary information obtained from stable isotope analysis can be used in a wider context to investigate social, economic and political changes in post-Roman Italy. See a PDF of poster
Ian Scharlotta, University of Alberta, Department of Anthropology, Baikal Archaeology Project: "Spatial variability of biologically available 87Sr/86Sr, rare earth and trace elements in the Cis-Baikal region, Siberia: Evidence from environmental samples and small cemeteries"
Previous geochemical work in the Lake Baikal region has demonstrated the effectiveness of Sr isotope analysis in interpreting mobility patterns among Bronze Age hunter-gatherer groups interred at the Khuzhir-Nuge (K-N) XIV cemetery and helped to confirm the validity of using 87Sr/86Sr ratios for mobility research. Initial geochemical research has focused on the K-N XIV cemetery due to its large size; however numerous smaller cemeteries have been excavated throughout the Cis-Baikal region. Lacking the number of interments necessary to support broader interpretations, individuals from these cemeteries will be analyzed and interpreted based on frameworks established for larger cemeteries such as K-N XIV. 16 individuals from 6 cemeteries throughout the Cis-Baikal region were analyzed for 87Sr/86Sr values along with rare earth and trace element data using ICP-MS. Preliminary results of the tandem use of 87Sr/86Sr and elemental data in mobility studies have been promising and provide an avenue for refinement of current methodologies. 87Sr/86Sr ratios reflect the dominant bedrock geology but limit provenance determination and interpretation to large geologic zones. Rare earth and trace element data provides additional data on the same materials and enables multivariate analyses akin to those used in artifact and dietary studies. Used in tandem the elemental data can provide finer resolution insight into the individuals mobility patterns within a larger geologic area. Understanding the nature and extent of biologically available geochemical interactions possible in a region are critical to interpretation efforts of human skeletal materials. Assessment of biologically available 87Sr/86Sr ratios for previous studies was conducted on 41 terrestrial and 38 aquatic faunal samples. This groundwork is expanded upon with 87Sr/86Sr ratio, rare earth and trace element analyses of 174 plant samples and 60 water samples from throughout the region and the addition of 51 faunal samples from previously un- and under-represented areas to provide a fuller compositional map of the Cis-Baikal region. Mapping such environmental variability provides the scale of possible interpretation for human skeletal materials analyzed herein and in future research. See a PDF of poster
Bridget A. Alex (Harvard University Departments of Anthropology and Human Evolutionary Biology): Amboseli Hydrogen Isotopes Across Species and Time
(co-authors: Noreen Tuross, Harvard University Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution)
The derivation and utility of H isotope ratios in bone collagen for paleoenvironment and paleodietary puposes is under investigation. A stepwise trophic enrichment has been reported in dD values between herbivores, browsers, and grazers. However, dD also varies with precipitation and humidity. Moreover, the susceptibility of dD in collagen to diagenetic alteration is also important to determine. To investigate the meaning and fidelity of H ratios in collagen, these values were measured in a range of fauna (n=10) from the Amboseli National Park, Kenya. The samples were exposed to weathering for approximately 15 years in the environmental conditions of a tropical savannah grassland. Preliminary data suggests that collagen dD was resistant to diagenesis over this period. The degree of variation between herbivores in this environment exceeds the stepwise enrichment said to distinguish between trophic levels. See a PDF of poster
2009 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2009
Lesley D. Frame (University of Arizona, Heritage Conservation Science Program): "Technological Change in Southwestern Asia: Comparing Metallurgical Production Styles and Social Values during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age"
Early evidence for metal processing is found on the Iranian Plateau at a number of sites, some of which (e.g., Tal-i Iblis) represent large-scale smelting industries, whereas other sites, including Seh Gabi and Godin Tepe, contain similar crucible technology but with much smaller concentrations of production debris. Through compositional and microstructural analyses, and the use of a theoretical framework of technological change, this project considers the differences among these contrasting scales of production on the Iranian Plateau, in terms of technology and the possible social values placed on that technology. By linking technological changes to social values of the craftspeople, we can understand the role of technology in the cultural context of past communities.
2008 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the 37th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Siena , Italy
Lisa Molofsky ( University of Arizona ) with David Killick, John Chesley, and Joaquin Ruiz : “Prehistoric Trade of Tin in South Africa Revealed by Lead Isotopes”
Evidence of tin, gold, or bronze smelting in Southern Africa has not been found prior to the mid-twelfth century CE. This period marks the beginning of a substantial gold trade out of Africa to the Islamic world, but little is known about the establishment of tin mining and bronze smelting in the area. Bronze production has been recognized elsewhere in Africa in the well-known metallurgical industry of the Igbo-Uku and Ife in Nigeria dating back to 800 cal CE. However, the chemical composition of these bronzes contain over 20% tin, and many have more than 3% lead, a significantly different composition than bronzes discovered in Southern Africa which contain ~16% tin and under 0.5% lead. This indicates that Southern African bronzes were made of tin originating from different sources, and thus, that a separate tin industry had begun in earnest in Southern Africa by the 14th-15th centuries CE. The Rooiberg tin deposit is the only tin source known to have been mined prehistorically in Southern Africa , and consequently, is a likely candidate for the tin utilized in these early bronzes.
The aim of the research presented in this poster is to use lead isotopes to determine if tin ingots found across Southern and Eastern Africa were indeed smelted from the Rooiberg tin deposit. We discovered that the lead isotope ratios of the ingots produced a line, geologically termed an ‘isochron,’ which indicated the ingots were smelted from tin-ore that formed 2050 ± 38 million years ago. The Rooiberg tin deposits are approximately 2061 ± 27 million years old, confirming that it was the tin source utilized. Isochron dating is a commonly used geological technique, but has seldom been employed by archaeologists to source materials. This research used isochron dating to establish the common tin-source of ingots found hundreds of miles apart as well as the source of tin in bronzes found at the archaeological sites of Bosutswe, Great Zimbabwe , Mapungubwe, and Thulamela.
2008 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the 73rd Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Vancouver , British Columbia
Miriam Hinman ( Harvard University ) with Cheryl Makarewicz, George Cody, and Noreen Tuross : “Isotopes, collagen, and degradation: New evidence from pyrolysis GC-MS and solid state 13C NMR”
Archaeological collagen is used for radiocarbon dating and stable isotope reconstruction of diet and environment, but collagen degrades. This study uses stable isotope mass spectrometry, amino acid analysis, protein sequencing, infrared spectroscopy, pyrolysis GC-MS, and solid state 13C NMR to analyze the structure and alteration of the collagen molecule in different states of preservation. Major chemical transformations occur at C/N(m) greater than 3.1 (atomic 3.6). These data suggest that collagen degradation involves bacterially driven denaturation and deamination of R group nitrogen, followed by hydrolysis, deamination of peptide nitrogen, formation of Maillard-type condensation products, and association with bacterial biomarkers. See a PDF of poster
2007 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting
Sandra Wheeler, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario (with Patrick Beauchesne, Lana Williams, and JE Molto) : Fractured Childhood: A Case of Probable Child Abuse from the Kellis 2 cemetery, Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt
Much can be learned about cultural attitudes of violence towards children from the analysis of their skeletal remains. A bioarchaeological approach integrating cultural, social, and physical environments is used in analyzing a young child from the Roman period cemetery, Kellis 2. This child exhibits skeletal fracture patterns consistent with chronic physical abuse, which may or may not have led to the child’s untimely death. Results from our investigation support this diagnosis. This case presents an opportunity to address questions concerning attitudes towards children, their social experiences and quality of life during the period of Roman rule. Click Here for PDF of Poster
2006 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting
Bryan Tucker, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Anthropology, with John Krigbaum: Identifying variation in oxygen isotopes from human dentition with implications for seasonal resource use.
Seasonal signatures preserved by oxygen isotopes are often recovered from faunal dentition by serially sampling dental enamel. Human teeth are smaller than the hypsodont teeth commonly sampled. However, we demonstrate that despite their small size and compact growth bands it is possible to recover seasonal signatures from human dentition. These seasonal signatures are recoverable despite buffering caused by surface water, body water, and secondary enamel maturation. Serial sampling provides a view of dietary and environmental change through time with each sample representing 1-2 months rather than the year or more provided by traditional techniques .
Susana Gonzalez, California State University Long Beach, Anthropology and Archaeological Sciences with Gregory Hodgins, George Burr, Jeffery Dean, and Hector Neff Differences in Measureable Radicarbon Due to Latitude and Elevation
Small differences in radiocarbon results from coeval samples taken from various latitudes and elevations may increase the error in the ages assigned to archaeological samples. In this study we compare ? 14C in tree rings from seven latitudes within the North American continent, with the most northern site located in Canada (64 ºN, 104ºW) and the furthest south site located in Mexico (23ºN, 105ºW). In order to monitor the differences that may have been produced across latitude and elevation, we used accelerator mass spectrometry to measure five-year blocks of tree rings at ca. ± 2.5? precision to test whether measurable differences exist in radiocarbon in trees. This test was carried out for 10 time periods between AD 1635 to 1980.
2006 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at ISA
Alyson M. Thibodeau (University of Arizona, Geosciences and NSF IGERT Program in Archaeological Sciences) with David J. Killick, Joaquin Ruiz, John T. Chesley, and Mark Baker Searching for the Silver Lining: Using Pb Isotopes to Constrain the Source of Argentiferous Galena at La Isabela
This study investigates the smelting and refining of argentiferous galena at La Isabela, Dominican Republic (1493-1498), the town founded by Columbis on his second voyage to the Americas. Archaeologists recovered approximately 100 kilograms of galena and 200 kilograms of metallurgical slag near the remains of a crude furnace unearthed at the site (Degan and Cruxent 2002). The purpose of this study was to determine if these remains are evidence that members of Columbus' fleet prospected for silver during his second expedition. Samples of ore and slag were examined by metallographic polished thin sections by optical and scanning electron microscopes. The composition of ore and slag allows us to infer these ores were processed in a two-stgae procedure to produce silver metal and a lead silicate slag. Electron microprobe analysis of galena indicated highly variable but low AG content (50 ppm) which may account for the fact some of the ore was left unprocessed. Lead isotope analysis by multi-collector ICP-MS indicates that the galena liekly came from a single source and was not mined within the Caribbean. Instead, the isotopic signature of these ores is consistent with an Old World source, possibly in the Linares_La Carolina Pb-Zn vein filed of southwestern Spain.
Hannah Koon (University of York, Biology) with M. Collins, T. Covington, and T. O'Connor Sorting the Butchered from the Boiled.
Mild Heating (100C, 1hr) does not lead to detectable changes in any biochemical parameter yet measured. However, during cooking this is precisely the sort of temperature regime that a bone would be subjected to. This means that there is a wealth of evidence from bones in the archaeological record that have been cooked, but which have not reached a temperature that will induce charring and therefore go undetected. We have a combined analytical approach (TEM, DSC, and XRD) to investigate changes in the organization of the collagin fibril as it is heated, using bones from heating experiments, short term burials and archaeological assemblages. The results of this work have shown the surprising finding that collagen is actually extremely prone to damage; damage which is observable by TEM as an unpacking of the fibril structure. In bone the presence of mineral matrix protects the collagen and helps maintain a record of the acculturation of damage within the fibril. This unpacking is very sensitive to temperature and therefore, with appropriate visualization methods, the degree of alteration can be used to infer cooking. Our novel visualization technique was tested in a blind study of bovine bone from the Anglo-Saxon site of Coppergate, York. The purpose of the study was to determine if the method could discriminate between bones from a supposed "butchery deposit" and bones on the same site which formed part of a refuse assemblage and are therefore likely to have been through a cooking process.
2006 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at Archaeological Science of the Americas
Kathryn Duffy, Department of Chemistry, University of Arizona (with Ann Hedlund, Arizona State Museum), "Understanding Chronology in Historic Period Navajo Textiles: Red Dye Analysis."
Chemical identification of the red dyes used in textiles in the southwestern United States can aid in determining the production age of textiles. In the mid-nineteenth century the Navajo raveled yarn from cloth (bayeta) that was brought via trading and government annuities into the Southwest. These raveled yarns are from a variety of sources and may contain the red insect dyes kermes, cochineal, and lac. Along with fabric texture, yarn spin direction and ply, and stylistic features, the dye testing can add to the information used to determine the chronology of a textile. The presently accepted chronology shows that prior to 1860, commercial red yarn that was imported into the Soutwest was primarily dyed with lac (an insect dye native to Southeast Asia and India). Between 1860 and 1865, a mixture of lac and cochineal was common, and by 1865 pure cochineal dominated until the synthetic dyes were introduced in the late 1870s and 1880s.
Most previous dye analyses of Southwest textiles utilized strong acidic conditions to extract the dyes from the wool fibers, followed by analysis and identification using UV-Visible Spectroscopy. This study, however, uses, a metal chelating compound to extract the mordant dyes, followed by High Performance Liquid Chormatography analysis. The purpose of modifying the extraction technique and identification method was to probe for kermes (an insect dye native to the Mediterranean region). Samples were taken from the collection of the Arizona State Museum, Tucson, AZ. The results of the dye analysis confirm lac and cochineal were used in the Southwest, yet fail to show evidence of kermes .
2005 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting(SAS Bulletin Volume 28, Number 1/2)
Rachel Popelka, Department of Chemistry, University of Missouri Columbia (with J. David Robertson, Michael D. Glascock, and Christophe Descantes), "Sourcing Red Ochres by Instrumental Trace Analysis."
Red ochres are ubiquitous on many North American archaeological sites, and are found in cave artwork, mortuary contexts, and other ceremonial milieu. Because of their importance, certain ochre pigments may have been traded from site to site for their unique qualities. To date, ochre pigments have not been well characterized by elemental methods. This project analyzes red ochres from several sources using instrumental trace anlaysis trachniques, including neutron activation analysis (NAA), particle induced x-ray emission (PIXE), and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF). Multivariate statistical analyses of the data indicate geochemical trends in the ochre sources that satisfy the provenance postulate.
2004 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients at Archaeological Science of the Americas (SAS Bulletin Volume 27, Number 3):
Samuel Duwe and Amanda Reynolds, Department of Anthropology and Department Geosciences, University of Arizona "Considerations for Provenancing Ceramics in the American Southwest: Chemistry, Temper, and Contamination"
Heather Adkins Downey, Northern Arizona University "Prehistoric Agricultural Viability of the Sacred Mountain Agricultural Complex, Verde Valley, Arizona"
2004 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients at ISA
Myrto Georgakopoulou, from the Archaeological Science Laboratories, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, "Early Cycladic Metallurgy in a Settlement Context: Examination of Metallurgical Remains from the site of Kavos (Cyclades, Greece)"
Alessandra Pecci, Department of Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Siena "Chemical Residues of Cooking Activities in San Vincenzo al Volturno (Italy)"
2004 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients at SAA Meeting (SAS Bulletin Volume 27, Number 1/2):
Hanneke Hoekman, College of Wooster, "Residue Analysis of Ceramics from Roman and Early Byzantine Contexts at Pella, Jordan"
Cynthia Fadem (with Gary Huckleberry), Washington State University, "Archived Sediments & Isotopic Geochemistry: Results from Marmes Site (45FR50), Washington"
2003 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients
Jennifer A. Kelly, University of South Florida, "Ecological and Dietary Diversity in Prehistoric Gulf Coast, Florida"
2002 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients (SAS Bulletin Volume 25, Number 2):
Agustin Ortiz (with Alessandra Pecci, and Sandra Lopez Varela), Laboratorio de Prospeccion Arqueologica, IIA, UNAM, Mexico, "Ethnoarchaeology Study of the Residues of a 'Living' Household in Mexico"
Anna Mukherjee (with R.P. Evershed and A.M. Gibson), Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Center, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, "The Significance of the Grooved Ware Pottery Tradition in Neolithic Britain in Relation to Human Diet, Animal Husbandry and Ritual Practices"
2001 SAS Award Recipient (SAS Bulletin Volume 24, Number 1/2)
Amy Margaris, University of Arizona, "A Minerological Analysis of Sediments from Israel's Tabun Cave using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry"
2000 SAS Award Recipients (SAS Bulletin Volume 23, Number 2)
Oliver Craig (with Mattew Collins and Carl Heron), University of Newcastle, "The Origins of Dairying in Europe: New Light on an Old Debate"
E. Christian Wells, Arizona State University, "Determining Intraregional Variation in Chemical Composition of Pottery with Scanning Electron Microscopy"
1999 SAS Award Recipient (SAS Bulletin Volume 22, Number 1/2)
Anastasia Steffen, University of New Mexico, "When Obsidian Goes Bad: Forest Fire Effects on Jemez Obsidian"
1998 SAS Award Recipient (SAS Bulletin Volume 21, Number 1/2)
Peter Tomkins (with Peter M. Day and Vassilis Kilikoglou), University of Sheffield, "The First Pottery in Europe: Technology, Production and Consumption in Early Neolithic Knossos, Crete"