Archaeometry, or the application of scientific techniques to the study of archaeology, is a field that is growing quickly due to the increasing availability of techniques, tools, and instrumentation that can apply the traditional hard sciences to important questions in archeological investigation. As technology continues to expand, the applications in archaeometry or archaeological science continue to grow with it.
Archaeological Information in Soil Composition
It is known that the presence of certain elements above or below the background average for a specific site can be indicators of certain types of human activity. For example, high concentration of lead (Pb) in soil that diminishes as you move away from a line can indicate that lead pipes ran through that soil at one time, and where they were placed. Elevated levels of strontium and rubidium can indicate an area where fire was used, while elevated levels of iron can indicate an area where blood was shed repeatedly (like a slaughterhouse or ritual sacrifice alter) or a metalworker’s shop. It may surprise people unfamiliar with soil archaeology to find out that such elemental signals in soil can persist for hundreds of years.