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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a versatile technique capable of measuring nearly every element on the Periodic Table down to extremely low concentrations. Using liquid sampling, it is a powerful method for bulk compositional characterization but has been only sporadically applied to archaeological ceramic studies. With laser ablation sampling, ICP-MS can be used to produce spatially resolved chemical information and has a wide range of archaeological applications including the analysis of ceramic surface treatments, paste composition, temper composition, and identification of post-burial chemical alteration. ICP-MS and LA-ICP-MS are particularly valuable when used in conjunction with bulk and mineralogical characterization techniques to elucidate which potential cultural, geological, or environmental effects are responsible for bulk compositional patterning, as well as providing complimentary compositional provenance information for individual phases of ceramic paste.

Keywords: plasma, mass spectrometry, laser ablation, provenance, ceramics

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