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Sourcing Iron Age softstone artefacts in southeastern Arabia: results from a programme of analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry/Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-MS/OES)

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Iron Age softstone vessels manufactured in southeastern Arabia are widely distributed across that region and in lesser amounts throughout Western Asia. Results from a pilot programme of analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry/Optical Emission Spectrometry on vessel fragments from two southeast Arabian sites are presented. These results indicate the existence of geochemically distinct groups that are separated by both transition metals and rare earth elements. While this indicates the potential for the application of the provenance postulate in softstone analysis, these promising results need to be further tested by an expanded programme of analysis which includes quarry fragments.

Keywords: ICP; Iron Age; compositional analysis; rare earth elements; softstone; southeastern Arabia; transition metals

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College, USA; 2: Department of Geology, Bryn Mawr College, USA; 3: Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, USA 4: Sharjah Archaeological Museum, UAE

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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