Excavation and recording of metallurgical features can be a very specialist task, requiring a high degree of understanding of the nature of the features and of the processes that were undertaken within them. Fieldwork services, ranging from providing advice on excavation and sampling through to excavation itself, are an increasingly important aspect of specialist input to projects.
Metallurgical residue assessment and interpretation
The cataloguing, assessment and interpretation of metallurgical residues (slag, technical ceramic, semi-products, products...) is the first fundamental stage of post-excavation investigation of metallurgical remains. In many cases, this stage may be all that is required in order to gain a good basic understanding of the metallurgical activity on a site. In other cases the assessment may permit the identification of suitable materials for taking forward for laboratory analysis.
Many types of microresidues may also be present. These may, with suitable sampling strategies, provide further evidence for the nature of the processes being undertaken and their spatial distribution.
GeoArch can offer a wide range of laboratory techniques to provide detailed characterisation of materials. This can assist with process modelling, yield calculations and provenancing. Tools routinely available include handheld portable XRF (particularly for assessing residues on ceramics), measurement of the 'major elements' by WD-XRF, measurement of trace elements by ICP-MS, and investigations of microstructure and mineralogy by SEM (with EDS, WDS and μXRF).