Evaluating Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy as a Non-Destructive Chert Sourcing Technique


  • Scientific editing by Lucy Wilson

Corresponding author; E-mail: rmparish@memphis.edu


The visual and chemical similarity between some chert types and individual outcrops within the same geologic formation often hinders accurate provenance determination. Fourier Transform Infrared reflectance micro-spectroscopy (FTIR-RM) is a nondestructive method demonstrating potential application in chert sourcing. Prior to analysis of archaeological assemblages, the accuracy of the technique and analytical methodology must be tested. The current pilot study examines a geologic sample database of two visually similar chert types (Dover and Fort Payne) in order to determine the technique's ability to differentiate both inter- and intra-outcrop variation. The analysis of these results gives us an improved understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the FTIR-RM chert provenance technique and associated statistical methodology.