Overview of MC-ICP-MS Facilities at MURR
Prepared by Virginie Renson, University of Missouri Archaeometry Laboratory
The MURR Archaeometry Laboratory recently acquired a Nu Plasma II multi-collector inductively coupled mass spectrometer with the assistance of a major research instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (#BCS-0922374). Multi-collector ICP-MS instruments allow measurement of isotopic ratios with high precision and reproducibility, and they additionally provide the capability of processing large batches of samples in a relatively short amount of time. Isotopic analyses have long been successfully applied in archaeometric studies on various types of artifacts. This approach is now being integrated into projects involving the other analytical methods already available at MURR.
Several ongoing projects in the Archaeometry Laboratory will focus on studies of isotopes in ceramics, clays, bones and teeth. These projects include:
- Lead isotope analysis on Late Hellenistic to Late Roman pottery excavated from Israel and Cyprus (Dr. Virginie Renson in collaboration with Prof. Kathleen Slane, Prof. Marcus Rautman and Dr. Benton Kidd from the Department of Art History and Archaeology, University of Missouri and Dr. Michael Glascock and Mr. James Guthrie from MURR).
- Lead and strontium isotopes on clays and ceramics from San Lorenzo and Oaxaca valley, Mexico (Dr. Virginie Renson in collaboration with Prof. Hector Neff from California State University Long Beach, Dr. Leah Minc from Oregon State University and Dr. Wesley Stoner, Dr. Michael Glascock and Mr. James Guthrie from MURR).
- Strontium isotopes on bones and teeth from Mesa Verde fauna (Dr. Jeffrey Ferguson in collaboration with Dr. Karen Schollmeyer from the Arizona State University).
A laboratory room at MURR has been entirely renovated, cleaned, and equipped to provide the clean environment required for sample preparation for isotopic analysis. This new equipment includes custom-designed boxes with filtered air (HEPA), a laminar air flow cabinet, polypropylene tables, corrosion-resistant lab hot plates suitable for Class 1, analytical balance and anti-static device, ultra-sonic bath, a micro-centrifuge, and inert and acid resistant material.
This laboratory is now operating as an ISO 4 to ISO 5 class room according to the ISO 14644-1 classification system. Procedures for preparation of various types of samples (ceramics, clays, bones and teeth) as well as procedures for lead and strontium separation are being developed. They will be followed in the near future by procedures for other types of artifacts and isotopic systems