X-ray microtomographic imaging of charcoal

Michael I. Bird, Philippa L. Ascough, Iain M. Young, Cheryl V. Wood, Andrew C. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


We assess the potential of X-ray microtomography as a tool for the non-destructive, three-dimensional examination of the internal structure of charcoal. Microtomographic analysis of a series of charcoals produced by the experimental pyrolysis of pine wood at temperatures from 300 and 600 °C in nitrogen only and in nitrogen mixed with 2% oxygen indicates that, despite substantial shrinkage, observed porosity, pore size and pore connectivity are all increased by pyrolysis and also by chemical oxidation. Analysis of a number of altered and unaltered archaeological and geological charcoals has demonstrated the capacity of the technique to identify and map the distribution of authigenic mineral contamination within charcoal fragments. The results are of significance to radiocarbon dating in that they provide insights into the mechanisms by which charcoal can be contaminated by extraneous carbon in the natural environment. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2698-2706
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'X-ray microtomographic imaging of charcoal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this