X-RAY AND NEUTRON-BASED NON-INVASIVE ANALYSIS OF STONE ARTEFACTS AS A CONTRIBUTION TO UNDERSTAND MOBILITY AND INTERACTION NETWORKS IN PRE-HISTORY OF SOUTHERN IBERIAN PENINSULA
Stone idols and vases from Perdigões Chalcolithic site (Portugal) were analysed. The investigation had interdisciplinary character based on physical-chemical and archaeological knowledge. These carbonate-rich archaeological artefacts are difficult to correlate with raw materials of such heterogeneous geological sources, especially when only non-invasive analysis is possible. A novel combination of X-ray and neutron-based non-invasive analysis was implemented and used for the first time to study prehistoric stone idols and vessels, comprising prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA) and external beam particle-induced x-ray emission for chemical composition and neutron radiography to provide structure and shape diversity. Results, especially of PGAA, were capable to distinguish between marble/limestone samples originating from different known geological sources, and matching artefacts to sources. The stone artefacts show signs of both nearby and long-distance procurement, and of unknown attribution. Different raw material provenances seem to be associated with different contexts and rituals, deepening the contrasts between funerary features in Perdigões site.