«BULLETIN OF THE IRKUTSK STATE UNIVERSITY. GEOARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND ANTHROPOLOGY SERIES»
ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 19

Elemental Analysis of Archaeological Findings of Ocher from the Barsova Gora Natural Boundary: Methodical Aspect

Author(s)
E. A. Iudina, M. A. Tonkushina, N. A. Kulesh, L. L. Kosinskaya, A. A. Ostroushko, I. V. Usacheva
Abstract
The article is devoted to methodical aspect of the elemental analysis (X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy) of some forms of the natural mineral pigment – oxide ochre, estimation of informational value and interpretational opportunities of the method in archaeological research context. The work is based on materials of Neolithic and Eneolithic sites (settlements and burials dated by the end of VI–III millennium BC), situated on the Barsova Gora (Surgut district, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District – Yugra of the Tyumen region). According to the archaeological data, main local form of pigment usage was covering of structures and open spaces with an ochre powder. Due do this practice the common condition of the ancient ochre samples from that territory is the mixture of pigment and soil (sand) basement.
The article contains results of elemental analysis of ochre, soil and supposed raw material samples (16 samples from 5 different sites). Some notes on detection, specification of ochre pigments (in field practice and laboratory research) and selection of soil samples are given. Special attention is paid for different ways of sample preparation (dissolution of samples in dilute nitric acid, elutriation of samples, analysis of samples in the initial state) and its impact on results. It was accepted, that choice of sample preparation method should be correlated with the concrete archaeological research aims. Dissolution was admitted as the best way of preparation in the case of pigment comparative analysis because of low impact of the sand substrate. The drawback of the method is the decrease in the sample concentration and, consequently, the decrease in sensitivity to micro impurities. If the micro impurities are of the main interest, it is better to analyze solid-phase samples (elutriated or not) combined with the information about elemental composition of the sand substrate of the samples. The article goes on with comparative analysis of the received data, information about detected local elemental markers and, finally, interpretational model of the analysis results. In conclusion, some examples of chemical data using are shown: as an additional parameters for dwelling complexes comparison and a source for revision of the concrete archaeological object functional designation.
Keywords
Western Siberia, Barsova Gora, Eneolithic, oxide ocher, natural mineral pigments, Age, elemental analysis, XRF spectroscopy
UDC
903(571.1)
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