Chemistry Unlocks Ancient Secrets | March 7, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 10 | Chemical & Engineering News
 
 
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Volume 89 Issue 10 | pp. 44-47
Issue Date: March 7, 2011

Chemistry Unlocks Ancient Secrets

Cutting-edge analytical methods decipher molecular clues buried in age-old artifacts
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE
Keywords: archeology, anthropology, isotope-ratio mass spectrometry

Some ancient civilizations left writings and drawings that archaeologists and anthropologists decipher to uncover clues to long-ago practices—daily activities, traditions, technologies, and travels. But even societies that didn’t leave comprehensive written accounts invariably left details in another form—chemical records—and cutting-edge analytical chemistry methods are getting better at interpreting these molecular clues.

“There’s a lot of information to be had from archaeological chemistry that just cannot be discovered by visually examining artifacts or archaeological sites,” says . . .

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