X-ray microtomographic imaging of charcoal

Bird, Michael I., Ascough, Philippa L., Young, Iain M., Wood, Cheryl V., and Scott, Andrew C. (2008) X-ray microtomographic imaging of charcoal. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35 (10). pp. 2698-2706.

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Abstract

We assess the potential of X-ray microtomography as a tool for the non-destructive, three-dimensional examination of the internal structure of charcoal. Microtomographic analysis of a series of charcoals produced by the experimental pyrolysis of pine wood at temperatures from 300 and 600 °C in nitrogen only and in nitrogen mixed with 2% oxygen indicates that, despite substantial shrinkage, observed porosity, pore size and pore connectivity are all increased by pyrolysis and also by chemical oxidation. Analysis of a number of altered and unaltered archaeological and geological charcoals has demonstrated the capacity of the technique to identify and map the distribution of authigenic mineral contamination within charcoal fragments. The results are of significance to radiocarbon dating in that they provide insights into the mechanisms by which charcoal can be contaminated by extraneous carbon in the natural environment.

Item ID: 18958
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: charcoal, radiocarbon, microtomography, geoarchaeology, Quaternary geochronology, biochar, black carbon
ISSN: 1095-9238
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2011 02:28
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 50%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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