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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the physics and engineering behind X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Explained are the two different types of XRF spectrometry, their similarities and differences, and their limitations. Sample preparation for each type of XRF spectrometry is discussed. Since both methods of XRF spectrometry produce quantitative data, a short discussion of data processing and multivariate statistical methods is presented. After reviewing some of the theoretical approaches towards material culture and chemical characterization, the utility of XRF spectrometry to provenance studies of ceramics is illustrated. Some case studies are briefly reviewed that illustrate the utility of the data obtained from XRF spectrometry, answering broader anthropological and archaeological questions.

Keywords: X-ray fluorescence, multivariate statistics, material culture, chemical characterization, ceramics

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