Get the Lead Out: Towards Identifying Ammunition on Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Battlefields and Settlements
Seibert and Elliott present a formalized regimen of lead ball analyses that combines elemental characterization (portable X-Ray Fluorescence, or pXRF) along with traditional descriptions and quantitative measurements. Traditional analysis documents diameter, weight, firing condition (impact evidence, rifling, worming, ramrod impact, casting evidence), alterations (chewing, cutting, carving), other post-depositional damage (rodent gnawing), and archaeological context. The elemental information collected by pXRF shows promise in identifying ore sources, contaminants introduced, firing condition, age, and military association. If combined with other data from lead ore sources, including isotope studies, baseline information can be developed for comparison among battlefield assemblages and incorporated into a global dataset with the purpose of better understanding the geographic distribution of military supplies and military strategy at macro global and regional levels, as well as at micro-battlefield levels.