Introduction to Archeometry

Archaeometry/Archaeological Science makes use of available laboratory and portable instrumentations for the characterisation and analyses of artefacts and materials associated with past human activities and cultures, to tackle questions related with their chronology, use, trade-routs and provenance arguments.  Main aims are the non-invasive (not destructive) approaches and the preference for portability in order to overcome issues related with the integrity of the artefacts and time consuming applications for granting the necessary permits from the respective public and private authorities (museums, archaeological institutions, collectors). In nowadays, there are available a series of microscopy and X-ray operated facilities that combines fast, non-invasive and in situ measurements providing highly accurate analytical information for the study of archaeological pottery, mortars, soil, metals, glass and glazed material. Absolute Dating in contrast to relative approaches (stylistic, typological dating) is an acknowledged field par-excellence, since the appearance of the archaeometry field (since early ‘60s): in recent years the use of Luminescence Techniques (Thermoluminescense/TL and Optically Stimulated Luminescence/OSL) provide absolute chronological information that refers to the time elapsed since the initial firing/production of the pottery/bricks (TL) or since the last exposure to sun-light of aeolian, fluvial, colluvial sediments and historical, archaeological mortars (OSL). 

Nikos Zacharias
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