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Archaeometry—also known as archaeological science—is the application of scientific methods and techniques to archeological investigation. The field of archaeometry has been quickly expanding and adopting new methodology over the last several decades, as the sophistication and availability of technology and instrumentation grow, while the cost of scientific analysis has been slowly but surely dropping. Many scientific instruments that produce data such as molecular or elemental composition, chromatography, carbon dating, etc. have become smaller, more portable, faster, and have a lower cost per sample.
As technology continues to improve in price, user-friendliness, and data reliability, archeological science will continue to expand and stands to significantly supplement already existing and traditional methods in archaeological investigation. One important and widely used archaeometric technique is handheld XRF (x-ray fluorescence), an elemental analysis technique that quickly and easily provides data regarding the elemental composition of an archaeological sample from magnesium (Mg) to uranium (U).