New publication: Classification of archaeological adhesives

Our group recently published a new article: Classification of archaeological adhesives from Eastern Europe and Urals by ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy and chemometric analysis. Archaeometry, 2021, 1–18

In this study, 100 adhesive samples, collected from hafting tools and ceramic containers as well as some adhesive lumps were analyzed using ATR-FT-IR in combination with PCA-based DA classification. The aim of this study was to discover the capabilities of ATR-FT-IR-DA classification as a potential screening method for the identification and grouping of different archaeological adhesive samples, and subsequently reduce the use of laborious GC-MS analysis.

100 archaeological adhesives were classified into 3 groups: birch bark tar without major additives (72), birch bark tar with additives (13) and minor/non birch bark tar samples (15). Birch bark tar containing adhesives were separated from minor/non birch bark tar samples. Samples identified as birch bark tar without major additives were further classified possibly by their location, age or cultural specific manufacturing practices. The classification results were confirmed by GC-MS analysis of 9 archaeological samples selected from three compositional groups.

The study proves that ATR-FT-IR-DA classification is a non-destructive, rapid and reliable pre-scanning method for analyzing archaeological adhesives, especially suitable for small samples. Based on the results of ATR-FT-IR spectroscopic analysis, DA classification can help further distinguish samples with different backgrounds such as sample age, initial production, environmental conditions and site-specific preservation. GC-MS analysis could be used as a supplementary/confirmatory method to investigate samples with complex components and provide archaeological DA references for future research.

The full text can be found here.

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