The Elemental Analysis Facility consists of an Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) laboratory, an X-ray Fluorescence laboratory, and an optical mineralogy laboratory. Museum curators are using this instrumentation extensively to further research programs on early state expansion in the Andes (Ryan Williams), evolving social networks on the north coast of Papua New Guinea (John Terrell), trade and exchange between Africa and India (Chap Kusimba), and Mesoamerican interaction spheres (Gary Feinman), among others. The Anthropology Department also conducts research in the museum's inter-disciplinary Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) laboratory, for instance a recent project on the composition and significance of Maya Blue pigment. In addition to research conducted by Field Museum staff, the EAF colaborates with scientists from other institutions, bringing researchers and students from all over the country to the Field Museum to learn about compositional analysis of ancient materials to enhance their research on a very wide range of anthropological topics. To inquire about opportunities for collaborative research at the EAF, contact us.
The Elemental Analysis Facility generates numerous publications each year detailing the results of our research.