Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Scientists retrace Indian trade routes
Idaho State University anthropologists are retracing American Indian trade routes by bombarding arrowheads and other stone tools with radiation that helps locate their origins.

The work at the Idaho Accelerator Center in Pocatello involves a process called photon activation analysis. It allows researchers to measure trace elements in an object and use the data to match artifacts with their places of origin, such as matching arrowheads made of obsidian with the lava flows they came from. That can provide evidence about how such items were passed among the West's tribes.