BAR 2:01, Mar 1976
Using Neutron Activation Analysis to Establish the Provenance of Pottery
During the last 25 years, professional archaeologists have become accustomed to relying on a wide variety of experts, both on the dig and afterward. Today no excavation would go into the field without an architect and photographer, or hesitate to call in a numismatist or bone specialist to study the collected material. A geologist, a paleobotanist and an anthropologist are other frequent members of an expedition staff. Scientific techniques like carbon 14 and thermoluminescence are often used for dating. And now the nuclear physicist is helping solve the problem of where pottery was manufactured.
The provenance of pottery has always been of concern to archaeologists, for provenance may help to answer important questions of cultural influence, patterns of trade and, maybe, even trace migrations.