A. M. Pollard

A. M. Pollard
University of Oxford | OX · Research Laboratory for Archaeology & the History of Art

DPhil Physics

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219
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Publications

Publications (219)
Article
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Since one of the aims of modern archaeometallurgy is to understand the processes carried out by ancient metalworkers, then ideally, we need to go beyond the traditional sources of evidence for such processes-physical investigation and chemical analysis of the objects themselves, and associated manufacturing debris. In order to understand the intent...
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The provenance of raw materials and finished objects is one of the most intriguing problems in archaeology. It is significant for the discussion of inter-regional cultural communication. Many of the methods used to determine provenance employed by archaeologists are shared with geologists or geochemists, among which the use of lead isotopes is prob...
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The crucial role which Xinjiang played in cultural communication across the Eurasian steppe in pre‐history is evidenced by the large number of copper‐based objects which represent the early metallurgical technologies found across this region. Our research adds new chemical and isotopic analyses of forty‐four copper‐based objects dated to the early...
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Bronze Age Shang China is characterized by its large-scale production system and distinctive ritual world. Both are vividly materialized by a large number of bronze ritual vessels with added lead. Whilst a remarkable amount of research effort has been channeled into the trace elemental and lead isotopic analysis of these ritual vessels, and success...
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Identifying and explaining changes in the prehistoric material and social world is one of the greatest research interests in archaeology, palaeoclimate and environmental science. In the last two decades or so, a considerable number of studies have made significant contributions to the associated disciplines in eastern Asian archaeology. However, du...
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Abstract Anyang, the last capital of the Chinese Shang dynasty, became one of the largest metal consumers in Eurasia during the second millennium BCE. However, it remains unclear how Anyang people managed to sustain such a large supply of metal. By considering the chemical analysis of bronze objects within archaeological contexts, this paper shows...
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Helminth infections are among the World Health Organization’s top neglected diseases with significant impact in many Less Economically Developed Countries. Despite no longer being endemic in Europe, the widespread presence of helminth eggs in archaeological deposits indicates that helminths represented a considerable burden in past European populat...
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Ancient China is one of the most important regions for the development of agriculture in human history, contributing the two key crops millet and rice. Meanwhile, it was closely connected to the wider Eurasian network, receiving wheat and barley from the West. Because of the large isotopic differences between C 3 and C 4 crops, we are able to track...
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Tianshanbeilu is the largest Bronze Age site in eastern Xinjiang, China. Stretching across the entire second millennium BC, it performed a prominent role in connecting the Hexi corridor, Central China and the steppe. A further insight into the metallurgical tradition and the metal supply network is of vital importance to improve our understanding o...
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The use of lead, some of which is characterized by a highly radiogenic signature, sharply distinguishes Bronze Age China from the rest of Eurasia. Scholars have long hypothesized that silver can offer an independent proxy to characterize lead minerals. The summary of silver distribution associated with Shang and Western Zhou bronzes in this paper r...
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The role of Panlongcheng-a walled settlement on the Yangtze River with obvious links to the Erligang capital at Zhengzhou, ~ 500 km to the north-in early Bronze Age China has been the subject of much debate. Panlongcheng is a typical Erligang site (~ 1500-1300 BC), with evidence for people of elite status, unlike any other site apart from Zhengzhou...
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China's major Late Neolithic centres and the rise of Erlitou - Volume 93 Issue 371 - Chi Zhang, A. Mark Pollard, Jessica Rawson, Limin Huan, Ruiliang Liu, Xiaojia Tang
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China's major Late Neolithic centres and the rise of Erlitou - Volume 93 Issue 369 - Chi Zhang, A. Mark Pollard, Jessica Rawson, Limin Huan, Ruiliang Liu, Xiaojia Tang
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The Buddhist caves along the Silk Road have offered a tremendous amount of first-hand materials to study the interaction between east and west. However, in order to advance the understanding of the underlying development and the historic values, a finer chronological framework is required. Using the Dunhuang Mogao grottoes as an example, this paper...
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Throughout history, humans have been afflicted by parasitic worms, and eggs are readily detected in archaeological deposits. This study integrated parasitological and ancient DNA methods with a large sample set dating between Neolithic and Early Modern periods to explore the utility of molecular archaeoparasitology as a new approach to study the pa...
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One of the greatest enigmas in the study of Bronze Age China is the source of highly radiogenic lead discovered in the copper-based objects of the Shang period (ca. 1500–1046 BC). Although being relatively rare in nature, such lead contributed over half of the lead consumed across a vast area from the Yellow River to the Yangtze. Identifying its so...
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We propose a new methodology based on standard statistical processes for displaying and rigorously comparing the alloy composition of archaeological bronze alloys. Although traditional approaches using visual comparisons of histograms of alloying elements in an assemblage of archaeological objects are adequate for observing differences between thes...
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Lead pollution in Arctic ice reflects mid-latitude emissions from ancient lead-silver mining and smelting. The few reported measurements have been extrapolated to infer the performance of ancient economies, including comparisons of economic productivity and growth during the Roman Republican and Imperial periods. These studies were based on sparse s...
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The construction chronology of three of the earliest Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes (Caves 268, 272, and 275) has been the subject of ongoing debate for over half a century. This chronology is a crucial topic in terms of further understanding of the establishment of the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, early Buddhism in the Gansu corridor, and its relationship wi...
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The aim of this paper is to apply kernel density estimates (KDEs) to the visualization and interpretation of lead isotope data from bronze assemblages found along the northern border of central China, here designated as the Arc. New lead isotope analyses of 30 leaded tin–bronze artefacts from the Wangdahu cemetery (c.500–300 bc) in the Ningxia Hui...
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We report here the rediscovery of the chemical analyses of approximately 540 Chinese bronze objects, carried out in RLAHA in the late 1950s by optical emission spectrometry. Although largely of historical interest, they do in fact even now approximately double the number analyses of Chinese bronze objects that contain data on both major and minor e...
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Study area Beijing 0 km 2000 N Lead is a major component of Chinese ritual bronze vessels. Defining its sources and usage is thus highly significant to understanding the metal industries of the Chinese Bronze Age. A new, simplified method has been developed for examining data, thereby providing insight into diachronic change in the origins of lead...
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Grotta del Romito has been the subject of numerous archaeological, chronological and palaeoenvironmental investigations for more than a decade. During the Upper Palaeolithic period the site contains evidence of human occupation through the Gravettian and Epigravettian periods, multiple human burials, changes in the pattern of human occupation, and...
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Chang'an (now Xi'an) was the capital of the Western Han Dynasty and the starting point of the Silk Road. In the light of the importance of Chang'an as the centre of politics, economy and cultural interaction, the overarching question proposed in this paper is focused on its role in the mirror production and distribution network during Han period. O...
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In the article by Pollard et al. (2017), Figure 2 was incorrectly duplicated as Figure 5.
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Salt crystallisation is a major problem of deterioration in historic stone buildings, monuments and sculptures. The capillary rise of soil water is one of the primary sources of salts in stone structures, which evaporates leaving the salts behind. It has been noted that the spatial distribution profile of different species of salts crystallised in...
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The Shang (c. 1500-1045 BC) and Zhou dynasties (c. 1045-771 BC) of China are famous for their sophisticated ritual bronze vessels. Sourcing the leaded tin-bronze has, however, proved to be a challenge. A new systematic approach to metal chemistry uses trace elements and isotopes to characterise the underlying circulation pattern. It reveals the com...
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In this study, we analyzed the carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic composition of human bone collagen in 33 individuals found at the Fantzuyuan site in Taiwan in order to investigate the dietary patterns of this Iron Age group. Forty-three faunal collagen samples were also analyzed to ascertain the variability of baseline isotopic signatures in the...
Chapter
Raman spectroscopy provides a molecular vibrational characterization of substance; a major advantage of the technique is the minimal sample preparation required, such that a sample can be studied in its native state and, in many cases, without damage or modification. Consequently, it is widely employed to analyse samples and materials across many s...
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Ore samples collected from the cobalt mine of Qamsar, Kāshān, were studied using optical microscopy (OM), qualitative X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), semi-quantitative X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) and quantitative electron micro-probe with wavelength-dispersive spectrometry (EMP–WDS). These analytical data provide the characteristics of...
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Early Iron Age pastoralists of the Eurasian steppes relied heavily on copper for weapons and ornaments, and new analysis of metal composition enables long-distance networks to be identified. Primary circulation from source areas where copper was mined can be distinguished alongside the secondary circulation of alloy types with high proportions of t...
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Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses were conducted on Neolithic Yuan-Shan faunal bone collagen to reconstruct a site-specific dietary isotope baseline, and to evaluate the contribution of potential food resources to the diet of Yuan-Shan people. The mean δ13C and δ15N values of terrestrial mammals were -17.7±3.6‰ and 5.4±1.3‰, respectively....
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This paper presents the first results of the CORONAM (COntent of ROmaN AMphorae) project, an informal international research network on amphorae and the history of Roman trade. Samples of several Keay 25 (Africana 3) subtypes were analysed in an attempt to determine vessel content. Visible residues from the interior of vessels as well as ceramic sa...
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Great Zimbabwe is one of the most iconic sites in southern Africa and indeed the world, but like so many famous monuments it has suffered from the attention of early excavators who have destroyed key categories of evidence. Chronology is crucial to understanding the development of the various elements of Great Zimbabwe and its relationship to other...
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An open-access database has been set up to support the research project studying the ‘Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions’ (RESET). The main methodology underlying this project was to use tephra layers to tie together and synchronise the chronologies of stratigraphic records at archaeological and environmental sites. The database...
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For many years, archaeologists and archaeometallurgists have suggested that recycled copper might have constituted a significant component of the metal in circulation in Britain during the first millennium AD. They have generally failed, however, to suggest a way of observing and quantifying this phenomenon. Here the authors propose a new methodolo...
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This paper considers the early copper and copper-alloy metallurgy of the entire Alpine region. It introduces a new approach to the interpretation of chemical composition data sets, which has been applied to a comprehensive regional database for the first time. The Alpine Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age each have distinctive patterns of metal use,...
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This paper is an attempt to document the early history of the quantitative chemical analysis of ceramic materials in Europe, with a specific interest in the analysis of archaeological ceramics. This inevitably leads to a study of the attempts made in Europe to imitate the miraculous material--porcelain--imported from China from the fourteenth centu...
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Fourteen Minai sherds and one sherd of lajvardina (12th to 13th centuries ad) from several archaeological sites in Iran and Egypt are analysed to clarify the colourants used and the technology of the coloured enamels. The manufacturing process of the coloured enamels and the correlation of the cobalt blue pigment with that used on Chinese blue-and-...
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A great number of ancient bronzes have been recovered in the Near East, but the source of the tin used for their production remains elusive. This paper proposes new insights into the "tin problem" by using a "big data" approach. Chemical analyses of over 5000 Bronze Age and Iron Age copper alloys from Iran and neighbouring regions have been assembl...
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The cobalt mine of Qamsar, south-west of the city of Kashan in central Iran, has long been considered a prime source of cobalt ore from ancient times until the early twentieth century AD. A review of the known Persian and European historical accounts describing the deposit, its cobalt ores, and the technologies involved in the production of the blu...
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We present a new methodology for interpreting lead isotope data from archaeological copper alloy objects. It is not based on the conventional isotope ratio biplots, which were originally devised to allow the calculation of the geological age of the lead mineralization, but is derived from isotope mixing models, more often used for presenting stront...
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Across the globe, the emergence of complex societies excites intense academic debate in archaeology and allied disciplines. Not surprisingly, in southern Africa the traditional assumption that the evolution of socio-political complexity began with ideological transformations from K2 to Mapungubwe between CE1200 and 1220 is clouded in controversy. I...
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Crystallisation of salts in the pores of stone is a major concern in the preservation of heritage buildings, monuments and sculptures, but the mechanism of transport and distribution of salts is still not properly understood. The fractionation and distribution of salts in the porous matrix has, in building material research, conventionally been att...
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Determination of the provenance of material culture by means of chemical analysis has a long and distinguished history in archaeology. The chemical analysis of archaeological objects started in the intellectual ferment of late-eighteenth-century Europe (Caley 1948, 1949, 1967; Pollard 2013), almost as soon as systematic (gravimetric) means of chemi...
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Much is known about the economy and spatial organization of Zimbabwe culture entities of Mapungubwe, Great Zimbabwe and Khami but less in terms of their origins and relationship with each other. Based on little tangible evidence, it is believed and widely accepted that the societies based at Mapungubwe (ad 1220–1290), Great Zimbabwe (ad 1300–1450)...
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This paper reviews briefly the early history of archaeological chemistry, concluding that it is to be traced back to Revolutionary France and the last decade of the 18th century. This period saw a unique combination of the perfection of gravimetric means of chemical analysis and an interest in the contents of the 'cabinets of curiosities' of the da...
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This paper attempts to track the history of the chemical analysis of archaeological copper alloys back beyond the accepted origins of archaeometallurgy, and even before the pioneering work of Martin Heinrich Klaproth, as identified by Earle Cayley. It would appear that the chemical analysis of copper metal was developed in Revolutionary France arou...
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Chemical treatment of metal artifacts to determine their composition was one of the first applications of science to archaeology. In this chapter, various chemical and isotopic analytical techniques are described as they relate to the study of ancient metals. In addition, the problems and pitfalls of such analyses, especially as they relate to atte...
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The paper aims to provide a robust basis for the construction of a regional cultural periodization in the north-western Central Plateau of Iran by combining stratigraphical observations and available radiocarbon data for a number of archaeological sites, including new dates alongside published dates. The proceeding is a one-by-one evaluation of the...
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Inspired by the success of published research on the use of simple models to quantify the cycling of organic carbon in soils, this paper investigates the idea of using a simple two-component carbon cycling model to describe the rate of decay of archaeological organic matter, using waterlogged wood as an example. By assuming that the lignin forms a...
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The southern African recent past is replete with examples of elite settlements, some of which were occupied sequentially, and by different rulers. Shona, Venda and Tswana traditions identify the many dry stone walled capitals with former kings who ruled during different reigns. This historical reality is often not factored when considering the issu...