Services

FAST. AFFORDABLE. COLLABORATIVE. CREATIVE.

We provide analytical and support services to help you reach your research goals.

Lithic Provenance

Where did these rocks come from? We apply cutting-edge analytical techniques and sophisticated statistical approaches to ensure you have the most confidence in your results as possible.

Field Support

Let’s put our boots on the ground. Over ten years of archaeological and geological fieldwork experience in contexts ranging from Hawaii to Belize to Belgium and focussed in the Pacific Northwest can help you get the job done.

Thermal Maturity

How hot were these rocks? We are specialists in applying spectroscopic techniques to assess just how ‘cooked’ the carbonaceous material is in your samples.

Material Characterization

What is this stuff? Is this material safe?We can help you collect and interpret data to ensure you’re comparing apples-to-apples using major, minor, and trace elements. We can also analyse everything from your dust bunnies or your silverware for concentrations of dangerous metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic.

XRF Rentals

Are you certified by NRCan to operate an XRF? We provide easy access to instrument rentals at extremely affordable rates so you can collect your own data. We also are more than happy to help you interpret it!

Statistical Analyses

Are these samples the same or different? We can help you test your hypotheses and address your research questions with ease using sophisticated multivariate statistical approaches, including PCA and LDA. We also provide general support in the R Programming Environment, including customizations of RShiny apps, such as SourceXplorer (coming soon).

The nitty gritty…

The measured traits, analytical techniques, and corresponding applications for the services we provide:

Measured TraitAnalytical TechniqueApplication
Major, minor, and trace element concentrationsX-ray Fluorescence (non-destructive) or (LA-) ICP-MS (minimally-invasive/destructiveIdentifying material types, evaluating formation processes, assessing geologic and geographic provenance
Molecular and structural characteristicsRaman spectroscopyIdentifying material types, chemospectric analyses and phase identification, estimates of thermal maturity and maximum temperatures of carbonaceous material, assessing geologic and geographic provenance
Radiogenic isotope ratios(LA-) ICP-MS (minimally-invasive) or MC-ICP-MS (destructive, high-precision)Assessing geologic and geographic provenance

Instrumentation we use:

Analytical TechniqueInstrumentation
X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)Olympus Vanta C-Series portable XRF analyser
Raman microspectroscopyHoriba XPlora Plus Raman microscope
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS): elemental concentrationsAgilent 7700x Quadrupole ICP-MS
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS): radiogenic isotope ratios
Nu AttoM double-focusing, high-resolution magnetic sector ICP-MS (HR-ICP-MS) or Nu Instruments Nu Plasma II (MC-ICP-MS)
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS): sample introduction (laser ablation)RESOlution M-50LR ArF excimer laser system (193 nm, 20 ns pulse width; Applied Spectra, USA) 

Both Raman spectroscopy and ICP-MS analyses are conducted at the world-class Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (UBC EOAS). 

Materials we analyse:

  • natural glasses (e.g., obsidian; McMillan et al., 2019)
  • fine-grained lithic materials (e.g., extrusive volcanics; Weis et al., 2020)
  • chemical sediments (e.g., cherts; Allan and McMillan, 2021)
  • clastic sediments (e.g., tuffs, siltstones; Bonjean et al., 2015; Allan and McMillan, 2021)
  • oxide and sulphide minerals (e.g., ochres)
  • bioapatite (e.g., bone, McMillan et al., 2017 and 2019; conodonts, McMillan and Golding, 2019 and Golding and McMillan, 2020)

Please see the following publications for additional information about our methods:

Bioapatite Geochemistry, Diagenesis, and Taphonomy

Golding, M. L., McMillan, R. 2020. The impacts of diagenesis on the geochemical characteristics and Color Alteration Index of conodonts. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-020-00447-y

McMillan, R., Snoeck, C., de Winter, N., Claeys, P., Weis, D. 2019. Evaluating the impact of acetic acid chemical pre-treatment on ‘old’ and cremated bone with the ‘Perio-spot’ technique and ‘Perios-endos’ profiles. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 530: 330-344. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.05.019

McMillan, R., Weis, D., Amini, M., Bonjean, D. 2017. Identifying the reworking and stratigraphic provenance of bones by exploring multivariate geochemical relationships with the ‘Perio-spot’ technique. Journal of Archaeological Science 88: 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.10.003

Bonjean, D., Abrams, G., Delaunois, E., Di Modica, K., McMillan, R., Pirson, S., Roy, C. A., Toussaint, M. 2014. Taphonomy of the Juvenile Neandertal Remains from Sedimentary Complex 4A, Scladina Cave. In: Toussaint, M., and Bonjean, D., editors. The Scladina 1-4A Juvenile Neandertal (Andenne, Belgium), Palaeoanthropology and Context. Études et Recherches Archéologiques de l’Université de Liège 134, 127-154. (Book chapter).

Archaeological and Geological Provenance

Allan, T. E., McMillan, R. 2021. Investigating the application of Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material in sedimentary lithic artifacts for archaeological provenancing in the Canadian Rockies. Geoarchaeology. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21893

Weis, D., Harrison, L. N., McMillan, R., & Williamson, N. M. 2020. Fine‐scale structure of Earth’s deep mantle resolved through statistical analysis of Hawaiian basalt geochemistry. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, e2020GC009292.

McMillan, R., Amini, M., Weis, D. 2019. Splitting obsidian: Assessing a multiproxy approach for sourcing obsidian artifacts in British Columbia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102040

Bonjean, D., Vanbrabant, Y., Abrams, G., Pirson, S., Burlet, C., Di Modica, K., Otte, M., Vander Auwera, J., Golitko, M., McMillan, R., Groemaere, E. 2015. A new Cambrian black pigment used during the late Middle Palaeolithic discovered at Scladina Cave (Andenne, Belgium). Journal of Archaeological Science 55: 253-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.11.040

Thermal Maturity of Carbonaceous Material

Golding, M. L., McMillan, R. 2020. The impacts of diagenesis on the geochemical characteristics and Color Alteration Index of conodonts. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-020-00447-y

McMillan, R., Golding, M. 2019. Thermal maturity of carbonaceous material in conodonts and the Color Alteration Index: independently identifying maximum temperature with Raman spectroscopy. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 534. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109290

Bonjean, D., Vanbrabant, Y., Abrams, G., Pirson, S., Burlet, C., Di Modica, K., Otte, M., Vander Auwera, J., Golitko, M., McMillan, R., Groemaere, E. 2015a. A new Cambrian black pigment used during the late Middle Palaeolithic discovered at Scladina Cave (Andenne, Belgium). Journal of Archaeological Science 55: 253-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.11.040

Mineralogy and Structural Characteristics

Satyro, S., Li, H., Dehkhoda, A. M., McMillan, R., Ellis, N., & Baldwin, S. A. 2020. Application of Fe-biochar composites for selenium (Se+ 6) removal from aqueous solution and effect of the presence of competing anions under environmentally relevant conditions. Journal of Environmental Management, 277, 111472.

Coolbaugh, M. F., McCormack, J. K., Raudsepp, M., Czech, E., McMillan, R., & Kampf, A. R. (2020). Andymcdonaldite (Fe3+2Te6+O6), a new ferric iron tellurate with inverse trirutile structure from the Detroit district, Juab County, Utah. The Canadian Mineralogist, 58(1), 85-97.

Raudsepp, M., Coolbaugh, M.F., McCormack, J.K., Czech, E. and McMillan, R. 2019. Andymcdonaldite, IMA 2018-141. CNMNC Newsletter No. 49, June 2019, European Journal of Mineralogy: 31.

Multivariate Statistics and Hypothesis Testing

Weis, D., Harrison, L. N., McMillan, R., & Williamson, N. M. 2020. Fine‐scale structure of Earth’s deep mantle resolved through statistical analysis of Hawaiian basalt geochemistry. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, e2020GC009292.

McMillan, R., Weis, D., Amini, M., Bonjean, D. 2017. Identifying the reworking and stratigraphic provenance of bones by exploring multivariate geochemical relationships with the ‘Perio-spot’ technique. Journal of Archaeological Science 88: 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.10.003