Modfied:  Thursday, May 27, 2010

R. E. Taylor & SAS Student Poster Awards

General Information

The SAS gives out awards for outstanding student posters in the realm of archaeometry. These awards are typically given at annual archaeology meetings (to be announced) and the International Symposium on Archaeometry. A call for applications is issued on the SAS website and over SASnet and other listserves prior to conference dates. Students must submit an application in order to be considered for this award. SAS will consider sponsoring student poster contests at international, continental-scale conferences - particularly in Asia and Africa. 



The Society for Archaeological Sciences invites applications for the R.E. Taylor Poster Award at the Society for American Archaeology's 80th Anniversary Meeting in San Francisco, California

This prestigious award acknowledges innovative student contributions to archaeological research through the use of scientific methods, and has enhanced the careers of prominent young scholars and professionals for more than a decade. The award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and his dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences; his leading role as President (1980) and General Secretary (1981-2002)of the Society; and his committed service as editor of the SAS Bulletin. Professor Taylor's many valuable contributions were recognized by the SAA in 2004 with the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research. The award consists of $100 US, a one-year SAS membership and subscription to the SAS Bulletin.

Entries will be judged on the significance of the archaeological problem, appropriateness of the methods used, soundness of conclusions, quality of the poster display, and oral presentation of the poster by the student, who should be the first author in order to be considered. Students should submit an email application to Destiny Crider ( by April 1, 2015. Applications must include the title and abstract of the poster, evidence that you have registered for the SAA meetings in Austin (email from the SAA), and proof of your status as an undergraduate or graduate student (usually appears on your SAA registration). Email confirmation that your application has been received will be sent to you. Please keep this email confirmation. In order to give the judges adequate time to posters, students will also be required to submit a PDF version of their poster on or before April 10, 2014. Judges will be present in person at the SAA meetings to judge posters and to ask students questions about their research. Prizes will be awarded at the SAA meetings following the end of the last poster session.

Good luck to everyone!

To enter contact Destiny Crider (


The Society for Archaeological Sciences invites applications for the R.E. Taylor Poster Award at the 41st International Symposium on Archaeometry, 2016

This prestigious award acknowledges innovative student contributions to archaeological research through the use of scientific methods, and has enhanced the careers of prominent young scholars and professionals for more than a decade. The award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and his dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences; his leading role as President (1980)and General Secretary (1981-2002)of the Society; and his committed service as editor of the SAS Bulletin. Professor Taylor's many valuable contributions were recognized by the SAA in 2004 with the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research. The award consists of $100 US, a one-year SAS membership and subscription to the SAS Bulletin.

Entries will be judged on the significance of the archaeological problem, appropriateness of the methods used, soundness of conclusions, quality of the poster display, and oral presentation of the poster by the student, who should be the first author in order to be considered. Students should submit an email application to (TBA) by April 2016. Applications must include the title and abstract of the poster, evidence that you have registered for the ISA meeting, and proof of your status as an undergraduate or graduate student. Email confirmation that your application has been received will be sent to you. Please keep this email confirmation. In order to give the judges adequate time to posters, students will also be required to submit a PDF version of their poster on or before May 2016. Judges will be present in person at the ISA meetings to judge posters and to ask students questions about their research. Prizes will be awarded at the ISA meeting following the end of the last poster session.

Good luck to everyone!

To enter contact TBA

R.E. Taylor Award Recipients

2014 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2014 - 40th International Symposium on Archaeometry, May 19-23, 2014 in Los Angeles California

María Teresa Plaza and Marcos Martinon-Torres (Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, United Kingdom) "Metallurgical Traditions Under Inka Rule: A Technological Study Of Metals And Technical Ceramics From The Aconcagua Valley In Central Chile"”

The Aconcagua Valley (Central Chile) is located in the southernmost limit of the Tawantinsuyu or Inka territory. In this area, some indicators of the Inka influence such as architecture, the Inka road, rock art and pottery have been largely studied, suggesting that the Inka developed a symbolic strategy to incorporate this area into the state. However, these studies have not considered the metallic and metallurgical evidence, which is both key in the Inka ideology, politics and expansion, and very distinctive of the Inka or Late Period in Central Chile. Considering that technology is culturally determined, this research uses an approach based on the analysis of the technical aspects of the metals and metallurgical ceramics to reveal important insights about the cultural choices and social dynamics of the groups using and/or producing metals in the area, and the influence of the Inka in those technologies. For this purpose, metallic artefacts and technical ceramics from two sites in the valley, Cerro La Cruz and Los Nogales, were subjected to analyses using SEM-EDS, optical microscopy, petrography, XDR and FTIR. These analytical techniques allowed to identify manufacturing techniques, raw materials, recipes and the extent of use of the metallic artefacts and technical ceramics. The results suggest that both sites represent different technological traditions. At Cerro La Cruz, the predominance of typologies and techniques rooted in the indigenous Diaguita Culture and the scarcity of bronze, indicate a conservatism that may reflect a cultural resistance to the Inka domain. Conversely, at Los Nogales, the presence of typical Inka perforated crucibles lined with bone ash, together with the use of bronze, point to a tradition closely related to the Inka expansion, also documented in north-western Argentina, which would reflect a cultural receptivity from some local groups towards new technologies and their associated values. These differences support the proposition that the Inka domination in the valley was heterogeneous and culturally contingent, and suggest a closer relationship between the state and some local groups, not previously identified. Poster in PDF Format

2013 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2013 - 78th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Honolulu, Hawaii

R. Kyle Bocinsky (Washington State University): “The Defensive Coast”

How do we recognize defensive behavior archaeologically? Recent attempts to create an index of site defensibility for the Northwest Coast and elsewhere have used a null model of zero defensibility; i.e., a site does not have any defensive advantage when approached from its immediate surroundings. Such a model is useful for comparing sites to one- another, but does not necessarily reflect an agent’s consideration of defensibility when choosing a place to be on a landscape. Instead, people make decisions in the context of their local and regional environments: their set of possible choices. In order to understand the importance of defensibility in past peoples’ behavior, we must first quantify the defensibility of their landscapes. In this poster, I build on a defensibility index developed by Martindale and Supernant (2009) by fully specifying their geospatial indices pertaining to visibility and elevation and adapting them to a raster landscape (a digital elevation model). I then examine the defensibility of recorded pre- and post-contact archaeological sites in the Gulf of Georgia and lower Fraser River valley of British Columbia in light of the baseline defensibility of the landscape. By doing so I am able to consider the extent to which choosing where to build is a defensive act.

2012 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2012 - 39th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Leuven, Belgium

Fabienne Eder (Vienna University of Technology) with co-authors Christian Neelmeijer, Nicholas J.G. Pearce, Johannes H. Sterba, Max Bichler, and Silke Merchel: “Chemical Fingerprinting of Hungarian and Slovakian Obsidian using Three Complimentary Analytical Techniques”

The natural volcanic glass obsidian is one of the classical objects of archaeometrical analyses. Reliable provenancing by means of its highly specific chemical composition, the “chemical fingerprint,” can provide information about economy, policy and the social system of ancient societies. Although Mediterranean obsidian have mainly been the focus of characterization since the pioneer work of Cann & Renfrew (1964), provenancing of Central and Eastern Europe obsidian sources attracts increasing attention in the past decades. Fingerprinting of Hungarian and Slovakian obsidian sources is of great interest especially for Central European sites where obsidian has been widely used (Williams-Thorpe et al., 1984; Kasztovszky et al., 2008; Biró, 2009).

The application of three complementary analytical techniques on the same set of raw material samples allows both a more complete characterization of obsidian sources and a comparison of analytical results. The aim of this multi-methodical approach is to apply three different analytical methods, in particular:Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA), Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) comprising of Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and Particle Induced Gammaray Emission (PIGE), Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), to detect a maximum element spectrum and to compare element concentrations determined with at least two analytical techniques.This way a check of self-consistency of analytical results is possible. Furthermore, it allows the identification of a maximum of compositional differences between Hungarian and Slovakian sources by revealing the most characteristic “chemical fingerprint” composed of more than 40 elements. You can view the poster in PDF format.


Cann, J.R. and Renfrew, C., 1964. The characterization of obsidian and its application to the Mediterranean Region. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 30: 111-131.

Williams-Thorpe, O., Warren, S.E. and Nandris, J.G., 1984. The distribution and provenance of archaeological obsidian in central and eastern Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science 11: 183-212.

Kasztovszky, Z., Biró, K., Markó, A. and Dobosi, V., 2008. Prompt gamma activation analysis for non-destructive characterization of chipped stone tools and raw materials. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 278: 293-298.

Biró, K.T., 2009. Sourcing Raw Materials for Chipped Stone Artifacts: The State-of-the-Art in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin. In: Adams, B. and Blades, B.S. (Eds.) Lithic Materials and Paleolithic Societies.Wiley & Blackwell, pp. 47-53.

2012 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2012 - 77th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Memphis, Tennessee

Andrew M. Zipkin (Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program;  Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology,Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University), Alison S. Brooks (Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology,Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University; Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution), John M. Hanchar (Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland), Jessica C. Thompson (School of Social Science, University of Queensland), and Elizabeth Gomani- Chindebvu (Malawi Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Culture): "On the formation and distribution of ochreous minerals in northern Malawi"

J. Desmond Clark’s Middle Stone Age excavations at Chaminade 1A, Karonga, Malawi during the 1960s yielded utilized ochre artefacts suggestive of pigment processing activities. Our 2011 survey of regional ochre deposits suggested that many potential sources are difficult-to-characterize, sedimentary rocks containing detrital minerals from diverse parent rocks. Here we report a new comparative study of three approaches to ochre provenance geochemistry. Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis and two variants of Laser Ablation – Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (1. Bulk Ochre “Paint Chip” Ablation and 2. Zircon Crystal Ablation) were applied to Malawian ochre source samples in order to test the Provenance Postulate and identify the minimum sample mass required for reliable characterization. Our results indicate that all three techniques are suitable for collecting trace element concentrations but several multivariate and specialized geological statistical analyses are required for effective interpretation of data derived from such sources. A future sourcing study of the Chaminade 1A ochre assemblage using one or more of these techniques is warranted. Here is the Poster in PDF Format

2011 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2011 - 76th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Sacramento, California

Alyson Thibodeau (University of Arizona) with Joaquin Ruiz, John T. Chelsey, and David J. Killick : "Determining the source of turquoise at Publo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico"

The geologic source (or sources) of turquoise found in the Great Houses of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico has been the subject of speculation for over a century. For the first time, high precision lead and strontium isotopic analyses have been applied to over 25 raw, partially worked, and finished turquoise objects recovered from the canyon’s largest Great House, Pueblo Bonito. The data from these turquoise artifacts are compared to the lead and strontium isotopic signatures of 18 major areas of turquoise mineralization in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, and Nevada and the sources represented by these objects are revealed. 

Honorable Mention

Amy Commendador (Idaho Museum of Natural History and Department of Geosciences, Idaho State University), Bruce Finney (Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University) and John Dudgeon (Department of Anthropology, Idaho State University): "Small Mammal Isotopes as Potential Indicators of Climate Change on the Snake River Plain, Idaho"

Previous research on the small mammal population recovered from excavations at the Wasden Site in southeastern Idaho suggests that changing frequency distributions through time represent a shift in climate during the Holocene from a cooler, wetter regime to a warmer, drier one. This conclusion was re-evaluated using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen from the three primary species of small mammals examined in the earlier studies: pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides), pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis), and ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii). Results show 15N enrichment and increased representation of C4 vegetation through time, suggesting increasing warmth and aridity, thus supporting previous hypotheses of climate change on the eastern Snake River Plain.SEE PDF of poster

Honorable Mention

Paul Szpak (Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario), Jean-François Millaire (Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario ), Fred J. Longstaffe (Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Western Ontario ), Christine D. White (Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario) "Effects of Seabird Guano Fertilization on the Stable Isotope Composition and Growth of Maize: Results from a Controlled Study"

Seabird guano from the arid western coast of South America was one of the most widely used fertilizers in the nineteenth century, although its importance in prehispanic agricultural systems has been difficult to determine. This paper presents data from a controlled study of maize fertilized with Peruvian seabird guano, outlining the effects of different fertilization regimes on maize growth and isotopic composition (δ13C and δ15N). All maize organs (leaves, grain, pollen capsules) were significantly enriched in 15N compared to control plants by at least 20‰. Moreover, the extent of 15N enrichment was greater with the application of a higher concentration of guano. The extreme 15N enrichment observed reflects the (1) the high trophic position of the birds responsible for the guano and (2) strong kinetic isotopic fractionations that are associated with the decomposition of uric acid (the primary component of avian excreta) to ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-), which are eventually absorbed and metabolized by the plants. The results of this study have important implications for the reconstruction of diet based on stable isotope analysis. The large 15N enrichment observed in maize fertilized with seabird guano has the potential to mirror a marine resource, and thus confound dietary interpretations. This is true not just for the Andean region, but throughout Europe and North America, where massive amounts of this guano were exported from the Peruvian coast during the nineteenth century.Poster in TIFF Format

2010 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2010 - 75th Anniversary of the Society for American Archaeology, St. Louis, Missouri

Dana Drake Rosenstein (School of Anthropology, University of Arizona) and James Feathers (Department of Anthropology, University of Washington): "Luminescence dating of samples from recent contexts in southern Africa"

The last 500 years represents one of the most formative periods of the southern African past, during which hunter-gatherers, agropastoralists and colonists interacted frequently and intensely on the shared landscape. From these contacts, modern southern African identities developed. A fine-grained historical understanding of this period requires the chronological sequence of archaeological site settlement and abandonment to be highly resolved.

Because of acute De Vries effects, radiocarbon dating is inadequate over this time period. Any radiocarbon age from approximately 300 BP to the present calibrates to an ambiguous calendar date spanning two or more centuries. For the recent past in South Africa, luminescence ages are potentially much more precise than radiocarbon dates. Using optically stimulated luminescence measurements on single coarse grains of quartz from midden sediments and thermoluminescence measurements on fine-grained quartz extracted from smelting remains, chronometric results with high precision have been obtained for these important southern African sites. Refined chronologies will enable archaeologists to map out ancient trade networks, identify centers of political economic power, explore the nature of relationships between communities and identify technological innovations in metallurgical and agro-pastoral production that occurred during the last 500 years.

These results further contribute to current research developing methodologies for measuring luminescence and calculating ages of samples from recent contexts (Arnold et al. 2009; Pietsch 2009). Challenges for luminescence dating of these young deposits include: (1) identifying the appropriate statistical age model to determine equivalent dose (De), or age, of samples in which up to 5% of grains have De d" 0; and (2) understanding high recuperation of the luminescence signal in up to 57% of individual grains. For some South African samples, luminescence age determination is constrained by associated artifacts of known manufacturing dates, such as glass trade beads.
SEE PDF of poster

Lisa Sonnenburg+, Joe Boyce+, Eduard Reinhardt+ and Aubrey Cannon* [+School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University *Department of Anthropology, McMaster University]: "Paleoenvironmental reconstruction and water-level fluctuations: Implications for understanding Paleoindian and Archaic archaeology in Southern Ontario"

Rice Lake has been continuously occupied for over 12,000 years. Despite its rich archaeological record, large areas of shoreline have been indundated by rising Holocene water-levels, limiting understanding of Paleoindian and Archaic subsistence strategies and settlement patterns. To gain a better understanding of the submerged landscape of Rice Lake and identify areas of archaeological interest, geophysical survey and sediment coring program was initiated. Quartz microdebitage dating to 10, 700 YBP was found in cores extracted adjacent to a terrestrial Archaic archaeological site. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction indicates Paleoindian peoples were exploiting resources associated with wetland/marsh environments and choosing easily accessible materials. SEE PDF of poster

2010 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2010 - 38th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Tampa, Florida

Erika Nitsch, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford: "Quantifying changes in fish consumption in Roman and early medieval Italy using stable isotope analysis"

The collapse of the Roman Empire resulted in a large number of changes in the social, political and economic organization of central Italy. As Germanic populations moved into central Italy, documentary evidence suggests that they brought with them a change in eating habits, specifically a move away from the fresh and salt-preserved fish products of the Mediterranean, toward a diet high in terrestrial animal protein. Traditional ethno-historic and archaeological forms of evidence have agreed neither on the degree of dietary change in the post-Roman world, nor on its cause. Due to problems such as potential bias from ancient writers, and the difficulty of relating material culture to the people themselves, it is becoming increasingly important to consider additional sources of evidence from the natural sciences.
Stable isotope analysis is able to reconstruct dietary patterns from human bone chemistry, allowing it to overcome some of these problems. The ability of stable isotope analysis to detect marine and freshwater fish makes it an ideal technique to study diet change in this period. This paper presents the results of stable isotope analysis of two rural Italian populations, from the Imperial Roman site of Casale del Dolce, and from the early medieval cemetery at S. Pietro di Villamagna, investigating a possible change in the amount of fish consumption between these two sites. Using the data from these sites, I show how creating a quantifiable model for fish consumption can enable more realistic comparisons between multiple sites. In this way, the basic dietary information obtained from stable isotope analysis can be used in a wider context to investigate social, economic and political changes in post-Roman Italy. SEE PDF of poster

Honorable Mention

Ian Scharlotta, University of Alberta, Department of Anthropology, Baikal Archaeology Project: "Spatial variability of biologically available 87Sr/86Sr, rare earth and trace elements in the Cis-Baikal region, Siberia: Evidence from environmental samples and small cemeteries"

Previous geochemical work in the Lake Baikal region has demonstrated the effectiveness of Sr isotope analysis in interpreting mobility patterns among Bronze Age hunter-gatherer groups interred at the Khuzhir-Nuge (K-N) XIV cemetery and helped to confirm the validity of using 87Sr/86Sr ratios for mobility research. Initial geochemical research has focused on the K-N XIV cemetery due to its large size; however numerous smaller cemeteries have been excavated throughout the Cis-Baikal region. Lacking the number of interments necessary to support broader interpretations, individuals from these cemeteries will be analyzed and interpreted based on frameworks established for larger cemeteries such as K-N XIV. 16 individuals from 6 cemeteries throughout the Cis-Baikal region were analyzed for 87Sr/86Sr values along with rare earth and trace element data using ICP-MS. Preliminary results of the tandem use of 87Sr/86Sr and elemental data in mobility studies have been promising and provide an avenue for refinement of current methodologies. 87Sr/86Sr ratios reflect the dominant bedrock geology but limit provenance determination and interpretation to large geologic zones. Rare earth and trace element data provides additional data on the same materials and enables multivariate analyses akin to those used in artifact and dietary studies. Used in tandem the elemental data can provide finer resolution insight into the individuals mobility patterns within a larger geologic area. Understanding the nature and extent of biologically available geochemical interactions possible in a region are critical to interpretation efforts of human skeletal materials. Assessment of biologically available 87Sr/86Sr ratios for previous studies was conducted on 41 terrestrial and 38 aquatic faunal samples. This groundwork is expanded upon with 87Sr/86Sr ratio, rare earth and trace element analyses of 174 plant samples and 60 water samples from throughout the region and the addition of 51 faunal samples from previously un- and under-represented areas to provide a fuller compositional map of the Cis-Baikal region. Mapping such environmental variability provides the scale of possible interpretation for human skeletal materials analyzed herein and in future research. SEE PDF of poster

Bridget A. Alex (Harvard University Departments of Anthropology and Human Evolutionary Biology): Amboseli Hydrogen Isotopes Across Species and Time
(co-authors: Noreen Tuross, Harvard University Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution)

The derivation and utility of H isotope ratios in bone collagen for paleoenvironment and paleodietary puposes is under investigation. A stepwise trophic enrichment has been reported in dD values between herbivores, browsers, and grazers. However, dD also varies with precipitation and humidity. Moreover, the susceptibility of dD in collagen to diagenetic alteration is also important to determine. To investigate the meaning and fidelity of H ratios in collagen, these values were measured in a range of fauna (n=10) from the Amboseli National Park, Kenya. The samples were exposed to weathering for approximately 15 years in the environmental conditions of a tropical savannah grassland. Preliminary data suggests that collagen dD was resistant to diagenesis over this period. The degree of variation between herbivores in this environment exceeds the stepwise enrichment said to distinguish between trophic levels. SEE PDF of poster

2009 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient: Spring 2009

Lesley D. Frame (University of Arizona, Heritage Conservation Science Program): "Technological Change in Southwestern Asia: Comparing Metallurgical Production Styles and Social Values during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age"

Early evidence for metal processing is found on the Iranian Plateau at a number of sites, some of which (e.g., Tal-i Iblis) represent large-scale smelting industries, whereas other sites, including Seh Gabi and Godin Tepe, contain similar crucible technology but with much smaller concentrations of production debris. Through compositional and microstructural analyses, and the use of a theoretical framework of technological change, this project considers the differences among these contrasting scales of production on the Iranian Plateau, in terms of technology and the possible social values placed on that technology. By linking technological changes to social values of the craftspeople, we can understand the role of technology in the cultural context of past communities.

2008 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the 37th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Siena , Italy

Lisa Molofsky ( University of Arizona ) with David Killick, John Chesley, and Joaquin Ruiz : “Prehistoric Trade of Tin in South Africa Revealed by Lead Isotopes”

Evidence of tin, gold, or bronze smelting in Southern Africa has not been found prior to the mid-twelfth century CE. This period marks the beginning of a substantial gold trade out of Africa to the Islamic world, but little is known about the establishment of tin mining and bronze smelting in the area. Bronze production has been recognized elsewhere in Africa in the well-known metallurgical industry of the Igbo-Uku and Ife in Nigeria dating back to 800 cal CE. However, the chemical composition of these bronzes contain over 20% tin, and many have more than 3% lead, a significantly different composition than bronzes discovered in Southern Africa which contain ~16% tin and under 0.5% lead. This indicates that Southern African bronzes were made of tin originating from different sources, and thus, that a separate tin industry had begun in earnest in Southern Africa by the 14th-15th centuries CE. The Rooiberg tin deposit is the only tin source known to have been mined prehistorically in Southern Africa , and consequently, is a likely candidate for the tin utilized in these early bronzes. 

The aim of the research presented in this poster is to use lead isotopes to determine if tin ingots found across Southern and Eastern Africa were indeed smelted from the Rooiberg tin deposit. We discovered that the lead isotope ratios of the ingots produced a line, geologically termed an ‘isochron,’ which indicated the ingots were smelted from tin-ore that formed 2050 ± 38 million years ago. The Rooiberg tin deposits are approximately 2061 ± 27 million years old, confirming that it was the tin source utilized. Isochron dating is a commonly used geological technique, but has seldom been employed by archaeologists to source materials. This research used isochron dating to establish the common tin-source of ingots found hundreds of miles apart as well as the source of tin in bronzes found at the archaeological sites of Bosutswe, Great Zimbabwe , Mapungubwe, and Thulamela.

2008 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the 73rd Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Vancouver , British Columbia  

Miriam Hinman ( Harvard University ) with Cheryl Makarewicz, George Cody, and Noreen Tuross : “Isotopes, collagen, and degradation:  New evidence from pyrolysis GC-MS and solid state 13C NMR”

Archaeological collagen is used for radiocarbon dating and stable isotope reconstruction of diet and environment, but collagen degrades.  This study uses stable isotope mass spectrometry, amino acid analysis, protein sequencing, infrared spectroscopy, pyrolysis GC-MS, and solid state 13C NMR to analyze the structure and alteration of the collagen molecule in different states of preservation.  Major chemical transformations occur at C/N(m) greater than 3.1 (atomic 3.6).  These data suggest that collagen degradation involves bacterially driven denaturation and deamination of R group nitrogen, followed by hydrolysis, deamination of peptide nitrogen, formation of Maillard-type condensation products, and association with bacterial biomarkers. SEE PDF of poster

2007 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Sandra Wheeler, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario (with Patrick Beauchesne, Lana Williams, and JE Molto) :  Fractured Childhood: A Case of Probable Child Abuse from the Kellis 2 cemetery, Dakhleh  Oasis, Egypt

Much can be learned about cultural attitudes of violence towards children from the analysis of their skeletal remains.  A bioarchaeological approach integrating cultural, social, and physical environments is used in analyzing a young child from the Roman period cemetery, Kellis 2.  This child exhibits skeletal fracture patterns consistent with chronic physical abuse, which may or may not have led to the child’s untimely death.  Results from our investigation support this diagnosis.  This case presents an opportunity to address questions concerning attitudes towards children, their social experiences and quality of life during the period of Roman rule. Click Here for PDF of Poster

2006 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Bryan Tucker, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Anthropology, with John Krigbaum:  Identifying variation in oxygen isotopes from human dentition with implications for seasonal resource use.

Seasonal signatures preserved by oxygen isotopes are often recovered from faunal dentition by serially sampling dental enamel.  Human teeth are smaller than the hypsodont teeth commonly sampled.  However, we demonstrate that despite their small size and compact growth bands it is possible to recover seasonal signatures from human dentition.  These seasonal signatures are recoverable despite buffering caused by surface water, body water, and secondary enamel maturation.  Serial sampling provides a view of dietary and environmental change through time with each sample representing 1-2 months rather than the year or more provided by traditional techniques.

Susana Gonzalez, California State University Long Beach, Anthropology and Archaeological Sciences with Gregory Hodgins, George Burr, Jeffery Dean, and Hector Neff Differences in Measureable Radicarbon Due to Latitude and Elevation

Small differences in radiocarbon results from coeval samples taken from various latitudes and elevations may increase the error in the ages assigned to archaeological samples. In this study we compare ? 14C in tree rings from seven latitudes within the North American continent, with the most northern site located in Canada (64 ºN, 104ºW) and the furthest south site located in Mexico (23ºN, 105ºW). In order to monitor the differences that may have been produced across latitude and elevation, we used accelerator mass spectrometry to measure five-year blocks of tree rings at ca.  ± 2.5? precision to test whether measurable differences exist in radiocarbon in trees. This test was carried out for 10 time periods between AD 1635 to 1980.

2006 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at ISA

Alyson M. Thibodeau (University of Arizona, Geosciences and NSF IGERT Program in Archaeological Sciences) with David J. Killick, Joaquin Ruiz, John T. Chesley, and Mark Baker Searching for the Silver Lining:  Using Pb Isotopes to Constrain the Source of Argentiferous Galena at La Isabela

This study investigates the smelting and refining of argentiferous galena at La Isabela, Dominican Republic (1493-1498), the town founded by Columbis on his second voyage to the Americas.  Archaeologists recovered approximately 100 kilograms of galena and 200 kilograms of metallurgical slag near the remains of a crude furnace unearthed at the site (Degan and Cruxent 2002).  The purpose of this study was to determine if these remains are evidence that members of Columbus' fleet prospected for silver during his second expedition. Samples of ore and slag were examined by metallographic polished thin sections by optical and scanning electron microscopes.  The composition of ore and slag allows us to infer these ores were processed in a two-stgae procedure to produce silver metal and a lead silicate slag.  Electron microprobe analysis of galena indicated highly variable but low AG content (50 ppm) which may account for the fact some of the ore was left unprocessed.  Lead isotope analysis by multi-collector ICP-MS indicates that the galena liekly came from a single source and was not mined within the Caribbean.  Instead, the isotopic signature of these ores is consistent with an Old World source, possibly in the Linares_La Carolina Pb-Zn vein filed of southwestern Spain.

Hannah Koon (University of York, Biology) with M. Collins, T. Covington, and T. O'Connor Sorting the Butchered from the Boiled.

Mild Heating (100C, 1hr) does not lead to detectable changes in any biochemical parameter yet measured.  However, during cooking this is precisely the sort of temperature regime that a bone would be subjected to.  This means that there is a wealth of evidence from bones in the archaeological record that have been cooked, but which have not reached a temperature that will induce charring and therefore go undetected. We have a combined analytical approach (TEM, DSC, and XRD) to investigate changes in the organization of the collagin fibril as it is heated, using bones from heating experiments, short term burials and archaeological assemblages. The results of this work have shown the surprising finding that collagen is actually extremely prone to damage; damage which is observable by TEM as an unpacking of the fibril structure.  In bone the presence of mineral matrix protects the collagen and helps maintain a record of the acculturation of damage within the fibril.  This unpacking is very sensitive to temperature and therefore, with appropriate visualization methods, the degree of alteration can be used to infer cooking. Our novel visualization technique was tested in a blind study of bovine bone from the Anglo-Saxon site of Coppergate, York.  The purpose of the study was to determine if the method could discriminate between bones from a supposed "butchery deposit" and bones on the same site which formed part of a refuse assemblage and are therefore likely to have been through a cooking process.

2006 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at Archaeological Science of the Americas

Kathryn Duffy, Department of Chemistry, University of Arizona (with Ann Hedlund, Arizona State Museum), "Understanding Chronology in Historic Period Navajo Textiles: Red Dye Analysis."

Chemical identification of the red dyes used in textiles in the southwestern United States can aid in determining the production age of textiles. In the mid-nineteenth century the Navajo raveled yarn from cloth (bayeta) that was brought via trading and government annuities into the Southwest. These raveled yarns are from a variety of sources and may contain the red insect dyes kermes, cochineal, and lac. Along with fabric texture, yarn spin direction and ply, and stylistic features, the dye testing can add to the information used to determine the chronology of a textile. The presently accepted chronology shows that prior to 1860, commercial red yarn that was imported into the Soutwest was primarily dyed with lac (an insect dye native to Southeast Asia and India). Between 1860 and 1865, a mixture of lac and cochineal was common, and by 1865 pure cochineal dominated until the synthetic dyes were introduced in the late 1870s and 1880s.

Most previous dye analyses of Southwest textiles utilized strong acidic conditions to extract the dyes from the wool fibers, followed by analysis and identification using UV-Visible Spectroscopy. This study, however, uses, a metal chelating compound to extract the mordant dyes, followed by High Performance Liquid Chormatography analysis. The purpose of modifying the extraction technique and identification method was to probe for kermes (an insect dye native to the Mediterranean region). Samples were taken from the collection of the Arizona State Museum, Tucson, AZ. The results of the dye analysis confirm lac and cochineal were used in the Southwest, yet fail to show evidence of kermes.

2005 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting(SAS Bulletin Volume 28, Number 1/2)

Rachel Popelka, Department of Chemistry, University of Missouri Columbia (with J. David Robertson, Michael D. Glascock, and Christophe Descantes), "Sourcing Red Ochres by Instrumental Trace Analysis."

Red ochres are ubiquitous on many North American archaeological sites, and are found in cave artwork, mortuary contexts, and other ceremonial milieu. Because of their importance, certain ochre pigments may have been traded from site to site for their unique qualities. To date, ochre pigments have not been well characterized by elemental methods. This project analyzes red ochres from several sources using instrumental trace anlaysis trachniques, including neutron activation analysis (NAA), particle induced x-ray emission (PIXE), and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF). Multivariate statistical analyses of the data indicate geochemical trends in the ochre sources that satisfy the provenance postulate.

2004 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients at Archaeological Science of the Americas (SAS Bulletin Volume 27, Number 3): 

Samuel Duwe and Amanda Reynolds, Department of Anthropology and Department Geosciences, University of Arizona "Considerations for Provenancing Ceramics in the American Southwest: Chemistry, Temper, and Contamination"

Heather Adkins Downey, Northern Arizona University "Prehistoric Agricultural Viability of the Sacred Mountain Agricultural Complex, Verde Valley, Arizona"

2004 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients at ISA

Myrto Georgakopoulou, from the Archaeological Science Laboratories, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, "Early Cycladic Metallurgy in a Settlement Context: Examination of Metallurgical Remains from the site of Kavos (Cyclades, Greece)"

Alessandra Pecci, Department of Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Siena "Chemical Residues of Cooking Activities in San Vincenzo al Volturno (Italy)"

2004 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients at SAA Meeting (SAS Bulletin Volume 27, Number 1/2): 

Hanneke Hoekman, College of Wooster, "Residue Analysis of Ceramics from Roman and Early Byzantine Contexts at Pella, Jordan"

Cynthia Fadem (with Gary Huckleberry), Washington State University, "Archived Sediments & Isotopic Geochemistry: Results from Marmes Site (45FR50), Washington"

2003 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients

Jennifer A. Kelly, University of South Florida, "Ecological and Dietary Diversity in Prehistoric Gulf Coast, Florida"

2002 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients (SAS Bulletin Volume 25, Number 2): 

Agustin Ortiz (with Alessandra Pecci, and Sandra Lopez Varela), Laboratorio de Prospeccion Arqueologica, IIA, UNAM, Mexico, "Ethnoarchaeology Study of the Residues of a 'Living' Household in Mexico" 

Anna Mukherjee (with R.P. Evershed and A.M. Gibson), Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Center, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, "The Significance of the Grooved Ware Pottery Tradition in Neolithic Britain in Relation to Human Diet, Animal Husbandry and Ritual Practices"

2001 SAS Award Recipient (SAS Bulletin Volume 24, Number 1/2)

Amy Margaris, University of Arizona, "A Minerological Analysis of Sediments from Israel's Tabun Cave using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry"

2000 SASAward Recipients (SAS Bulletin Volume 23, Number 2)

Oliver Craig (with Mattew Collins and Carl Heron), University of Newcastle, "The Origins of Dairying in Europe: New Light on an Old Debate"

E. Christian Wells, Arizona State University, "Determining Intraregional Variation in Chemical Composition of Pottery with Scanning Electron Microscopy"

1999 SAS Award Recipient (SAS Bulletin Volume 22, Number 1/2

Anastasia Steffen, University of New Mexico, "When Obsidian Goes Bad: Forest Fire Effects on Jemez Obsidian"

1998 SAS Award Recipient (SAS Bulletin Volume 21, Number 1/2)

Peter Tomkins (with Peter M. Day and Vassilis Kilikoglou), University of Sheffield, "The First Pottery in Europe: Technology, Production and Consumption in Early Neolithic Knossos, Crete"