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Combined Raman spectroscopic and Rietveld analyses as a useful and non-destructive approach to studying flint raw materials at prehistoric archaeological sites

Abstract

A set of six lithic tools, unearthed along 2011 in two karst sites of the Guadalteba County (Málaga, Spain), has been nondestructively investigated by Raman spectroscopy and laboratory x-ray diffraction. From a chemist’s point of view, our goal is to develop a systematic screening protocol for a quick, easy, low cost and nondestructive characterization of archaeological flints based on Raman spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction and Rietveld refinement. In this paper, we firstly made use of Raman spectroscopy to determine, in a semiquantitative way, but with the generic advantage of a faster data acquisition than x-ray diffraction, the surface content of moganite of each lithic tool, from the ratio between the relative intensities of the two Raman-active symmetric stretching vibrations (A1 modes) of α-quartz (465 cm−1) and moganite (501 cm−1). The precise bulk quartz/moganite weight content was then accurately quantified by means of high-quality x-ray diffraction, followed by Rietveld refinement. We found a general good correlation between Raman and x-ray data. Nonetheless, as recently reported in the scientific literature by other authors, the vibrational spectroscopic quantification of moganite in silica rocks like flint and chert have to be performed very cautiously, to avoid undesired interferences from other Raman features due to the eventual presence of silanol (SiOH) groups, which could finally lead to an overestimation of the surface moganite concentration. As reported in such a recent article, a useful treatment to reduce the interference from silanol-bands is to heat the samples prior to their Raman analysis at a minimum of 600ºC (but better at 700 or 800ºC) for silanol “dehydration”. This, in our opinion,may be for sure a satisfactory procedure when studying flint or chert samples of a “geological origin”. But not of practical use when studying lithic tools which were manufactured by men thousands and thousands of years ago.

Resources

Capel Ferrón et al. 2014_Raman Spectroscopy.pdf Request access Accessed 0 times | Last updated 15.02.2017
url https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12520-014-0189-0 Accessed 13 times | Last updated 23.10.2018

Bibliography

Capel Ferrón, C., León Reina, L., Jorge Villar, S., Compaña, J., Aranda, M., López Navarrete, J., Hernández, V., Medianero, F., Ramos, J., Weniger, G., Domínguez-Bella, S., Lindstaedter, J., Cantalejo, P., Durán Valsero, J. (2015): Combined Raman spectroscopic and Rietveld analyses as a useful and non-destructive approach to studying flint raw materials at prehistoric archaeological sites. – In: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Vol. 7(2), p: 235-243, DOI: DOI:10.1007/s12520-014-0189-0

Authors Capel Ferrón, C. and León Reina, L. and Jorge Villar, S. and Compaña, J.M. and Aranda, M.A.G. and López Navarrete, J.T. and Hernández, V. and Medianero, F.J. and Ramos, J. and Weniger, G.-Ch. and Domínguez-Bella, S. and Lindstaedter, J. and Cantalejo, P. and Durán Valsero, J.J.
Type article
Title Combined Raman spectroscopic and Rietveld analyses as a useful and non-destructive approach to studying flint raw materials at prehistoric archaeological sites
URL https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269517157_Combined_Raman_spectroscopic_and_Rietveld_analyses_as_a_useful_and_nondestructive_approach_to_studyiin_flint_raw_materials_at_prehistoric_archaeological_sites
DOI DOI:10.1007/s12520-014-0189-0
Journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Year 2015
Volume 7
Number 2
Pages 235-243
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