Archaeometry Lab at MURR® receives funding from National Science Foundation

MURR’s Archaeometry Laboratory has received a new grant from the NSF.

Testing samples in the Archaeometry Lab

The Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR®) has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support its operations for an additional three years. The Lab was created at MURR in 1988 with NSF funding and the current grant, received in July of 2019, constitutes 34 years of continuous NSF support.

Pottery sherd in New Mexico

The Archaeometry Lab supports archaeological efforts by providing chemical analysis (i.e., chemical fingerprinting) of specimens to determine their origins.  Researchers at the Lab use state of the art analytical techniques including instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), laser-ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS), and multi-collector ICP-MS (MC-ICP-MS) to help unlock the mysteries of ancient artifacts, trade routes, and cultures.

Funding from the NSF helps keep access to the Archaeometry Lab’s resources affordable for archaeologists across the country and around the world and provides support for student education, research, and database maintenance.  The current grant will help support multiple undergraduate and graduate assistants as well as several graduate-level internships.

The Archaeometry Lab is well respected in the field of archaeology and peer reviewers consistently rated the most recent NSF funding proposal as “excellent.” Review comments included:

The Archaeometry Laboratory at MURR has a long and impressive track record of producing and disseminating high-quality compositional data, and it continues to analyze a remarkable number of samples from various regions of the world on a yearly basis. Recent investments in facilities and equipment at MURR and the various research and training initiatives detailed in the proposal suggest that the laboratory will continue to play a key role in archaeological science in the United States.

The proposal to maintain and expand funding to support archaeological research through MURR is critically important for supporting the intellectual merit of a large variety of research projects. MURR has an exceptional many-decade long track record of providing high quality services to archaeologists.