The Archaeometry Laboratory
at the University of Missouri Research Reactor

The Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) provides trace-element analysis (i.e., chemical fingerprinting) of archaeological specimens for the purpose of determining their provenance (source) using the following analytical techniques: instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), laser-ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS), and multi-collector ICP-MS (MC-ICP-MS).  MURR is one of only a few archaeometry laboratories in the world providing in-house access to all of these powerful analytical techniques.  Historically, we have specialized in the compositional analysis of archaeological ceramics and chert by INAA, and analysis of obsidian by XRF. We also support geochemical research on the petrogenesis of various igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Inquiries regarding elemental analysis of materials other than archaeological and geological materials should be directed to the MURR Analytical Chemistry Group. If you have specific questions about our capabilities, please contact us.

Since 1988, the Archaeometry Laboratory has analyzed more than 170,000 archaeological specimens of pottery, chert, and obsidian by INAA, XRF & ICP-MS at a rate of approximately 6,000 samples per year.

[Locations and quantities of U.S. archaeological samples analyzed by the Archaeometry Laboratory]

Locations and quantities of U.S. ceramic, obsidian, and chert specimens analyzed by the Archaeometry Laboratory as of December, 2016


Research performed by the Archaeometry Laboratory at MURR after August 2016 is supported by the National Science Foundation under our current grant number 1621158. Earlier research was supported by several NSF grants including the following: 1415403, 1110793, 8801707, 9102016, 9503035, 9802366, 9977237, 0102325, 0405042, 0504015, 0802757, 0922374, and 0802757. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Last Updated on June 2, 2017
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