Infrared Light and Carbon Dating

One of the people who works on the dig, Bridgett, recently had the chance to tell me about her work with the soil samples she collects from different dig sites. Bridgett is the one who we call in if we see the ground is a funny color and we want to know what happened to it in the past. She is able to put the samples in an infrared spectrometer and read the levels of all the elements to tell us what it is. It is very useful in finding out if a fire occurred there, if the spot was used for cooking, or if there are parts of bone in the soil. Knowing this information can tell us what that space was used for and help us piece together the clues of what the different rooms are that we excavate. Check out her video below to hear more! 

If you are interested in learning more about infrared light and carbon dating, head over to our modules page to see our lesson. 


Junior Archaeologist Assignment:

Ask a parent to find 3 different white powders from your kitchen or spice cabinet and make small piles of them on a plate without telling you what they are. In your log book, record all of their properties (what you can see) and make note of how they are different. Next, brainstorm a way to run tests to see what the different powders are. Is there any liquids you could drop on the powders to solve the mystery? How else could you tell what these powders are than just asking your parent to tell you?

Question of the Day:

Why do you think it would be important for scientists to know what was located in different areas? Do you think that the areas were always used for the same thing?