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Material analyses

Material analysis is used to characterise the chemical composition and structure of metals, glass, rocks, ores, slags and ceramics. It can be used not only in archaeometry, but also in other areas such as industry, forensics and other fields.

Material analysis is the basis for answering a wide range of questions. In archaeometry, for example, it is used for material identification and provides information on which chemical elements or compounds the analysed material consists of. This allows findings to be derived regarding questions of origin and authenticity, technical processes or object genesis in general. Comparisons with analyses of other objects and samples allow further conclusions to be drawn.

The analyses may require sampling and preparation (drilling, removal of weathering crusts or corrosion, grinding, mineral separation, preparation of sections). Alternatively, they can be carried out minimally invasively using laser ablation or non-destructively. Depending on the issue at hand and the nature of the objects and samples, different devices and examination methods are used for the analyses, which measure from the main to the ultra-trace element range. The CEZA has various X-ray fluorescence spectrometers (main constituents up to the µg/g range), mass spectrometers (ng/g and pg/g range), a neutron activation analysis (main constituents up to the µg/g range) and a scanning electron microscope (main and secondary constituents). Phase analyses using an X-ray diffractometer are also possible.


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