Geoarchaeology Laboratory, UH Hilo
UH Hilo archaeologist Dr. Peter Mills founded the Geoarchaeology Laboratory in 2004 through a Major Research Instrumentation Grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS-0317528). Mills had been introduced to non-destructive Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) sourcing of obsidian during his graduate work with Dr. M. Steven Shackley at U.C. Berkeley. After Mills arrived at UH Hilo, he proposed the idea of acquiring EDXRF technology to geologist Dr. Ken Hon, who signed on to Mills's NSF proposal as a co-PI to help promote applications in geology as well as archaeology. Shortly thereafter, geologist Dr. Steve Lundblad joined with Mills while Hon moved into other roles.
Mills and Lundblad have operated the lab as inter-departmental collaborators for almost two decades, and have helped train many undergraduates and several graduate students in EDXRF technology. By 2004 archaeologists regularly used EDXRF for obsidian analyses, but the UH Hilo Geoarachaeology Lab vastly expanded applications to non-destructive analyses of more hetergeneous artifacts made of basalt, trachyte, and andesite. The lab has also re-introduced the value of this analytical technology to the geological community, where rapid analyses of fresh eruptive material can be of great benefit.
Mills and Lundblad have funded the lab with 2 additional NSF grants (BCS-0949058 and BCS-1427950), and maintain a RCUH revolving account to cover laboratory costs such as equipment maintenance. End-users include a multitude of archaeologists working in the Pacific (see publications below) as well as geologists such as Dr. Cheryl Gansecki who have relied on the lab for near real-time geochemical analyses of ash, pressed-pellet samples and whole rock from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption and the 2022 Maunaloa eruption.
- How XRF works [from the UC-Berkeley Page]
- The UH Hilo EDXRF Method
(with sources for samples or permissions)
- Kīlauea (Excel file) Archaeological samples quarried from volcanic bombs surrounding Kilauea Caldera; courtesy of Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura, NPS.
- Maunakea (Excel file) Archaeological samples from 1970s Bishop Museum excavations, now on exhibit at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center- See Mills et al. (2008). (NARS)
- Pololū (Excel file) Archaeological samples from 1970s UH Manoa surveys; courtesy of Jo Lynn Gunness, Mark Oxley.
- Puʻuwaʻawaʻa (Excel file) Archaeological samples, published in McCoy et. al (2011) Journal of Archaeological Science.
- Nuʻu (Excel file) (archaeological samples, see Kahn et al. 2008)
- Haleakalā (Excel file) (geological samples from site 2510, courtesy of Melanie Mintmier, Elizabeth Gordon, NPS)
- Waiahole (Excel file) (archaeological samples from UH Mānoa, courtesy of Jo Lynn Gunness, see Cleghorn et al. 1985 A preliminary petrographic study of Hawaiian Stone Adze Quarries. Journal of the Polynesian Society 94(3):235-251).
- Eiao (Excel file) (Charleux et al. 2014)
- Nuʻalolo Kai, Na Pali Coast, Kauaʻi (Excel file) (Mills et al. 2010)
- Kahaluʻu Habitation Cave, Kona,Hawaiʻi Island (Excel file) (Mills et al. 2011)
- Kahikinui, Maui (Excel file) (Kirch et al. 2012)
- Adirondack Iron and Steel Co. Bricks (Excel file) (Staley et al. 2012)
- Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau (Excel file) (Rieth et al. 2013)
- ʻOpunohu Valley, Moʻorea, Society Islands (Excel file) (Kahn et al. 2013)
- Leeward Hawaiʻi Island Volcanic Glass (Excel file) (Lundblad et al. 2013)
- AGA-3, Mangareva (Excel file) (Kirch et al. 2015)
- Central Polynesia (Excel file) (Gerrish 2015)
- Hālawa Dune Site, Molokaʻi (Excel file) (Mills et al. 2017)
- Kualoa, Oʻahu Volcanic Glass (Excel file) (Divito et al. 2020)
- Leeward Kohala, Hawaiʻi Island (Excel file) (Mills et al. 2022)
Please Mail samples to the attention ofPeter Mills
UH Hilo Dept of Anthropology, Social Sciences Division
200 W. Kāwili Street
Hilo, HI 96720
We currently expend over $10,000/year to maintain a service contract on the EDXRF spectrometer and must charge fees through a Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi (RCUH) revolving account for outside analyses to help cover these costs. For analyses not related to the current NSF Grant, our standard fee for clean basalt samples is $30/sample, but we regularly negotiate subsidized rates for large submissions and student research. Our philosophy is that it is in everyone's best interest to analyze large numbers of samples rather than to have researchers submit fewer samples due to tight budgets.
UH Hilo Geoarchaeology Publications
Note: superscript ¹ denotes student author.
- Downs, D.T., Trusdell, F.A., Lynn, K.J., Schmith, J., Chang, J.M., Gansecki, C.A., Lundblad, S.P., Deligne, N.I., Orr, T.R., Gallant, E., Dotray, P.J., Zoeller, M.H., Patrick, M.R., Parcheta, C.E., McDade, B., and Mills, P.R. 2023. Sample details and near-real-time ED-XRF, grain size, and grain shape data collected during the November – December 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi USGS ScienceBase-Catalog, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9NA7GU3
- Mills, P. R., S. P. Lundblad, ¹C. Cauley, D. S. Coleman, J. S. Field, A. L. Hafner, J. G. Kahn, J. M. Sinton, and P. V. Kirch 2022. Provenance, production, and distribution of basalt and volcanic glass artifacts in Leeward Kohala, Hawaiʻi Island. Geoarchaeology, 37 (5):733-749.
- Quintus, S., P. R. Mills, J. Konter, S. Day, ¹D. Gilreath, N. K. Lincoln., S. P. Lundblad, D. Vonderhaar, and K. Yoo. 2022. Trace Element and Pb isotope analyses highlight decentralized inter-island exchange in American Sāmoa (Polynesia). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 14 (103) Springer Link.
- Divito, D. J., T.S. Dye, K. Elkington, J. L. Gunness, E. Hellebrand, E. Jourdane, S. Lundblad, ¹N. Mello, P. Mills, J. Sinton. 2020. Volcanic glass at Kualoa, O‘ahu, Hawaiian Islands: Paired technological and geochemical sourcing analyses of an expedient tool industry.Journal of Archaeological Science 30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102117.
- Lee, R.L., Gansecki, C., Lundblad, S., Mills, P., Adams, D.T., Conrey, R., and Wagoner, L.. 2019. Whole-rock and glass chemistry of lava samples collected during the 2018 Lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kilauea: U.S. Geological Survey data release.
- Gansecki, C., R. Lopaka Lee, T. Shea, S. Lundblad, K. Hon, C. Parcheta 2019. The tangled tale of Kīlauea’s 2018 eruption as told by geochemical monitoring. Science 366(6470).
- Mills, P.R., ¹P. Lima, ¹L. Brandt, J. Kahn, P. Kirch, and S. Lundblad. 2018. Paired geochemical and technological analyses of basalt adze debitage at the Hālawa Dune Site, Molokaʻi Island, Hawaiʻi. Archaeology in Oceania. 53(2):78-91. DOI: 10.1002 / arco.5143.
- Kahn, J.G., S.P. Lundblad, P.R., Mills, Y. Chan, K. Longenecker, and Y. Sinoto. 2016. Settlement Chronologies and Shifting Resource Exploitation in Kaʻū District, Hawaiian Islands. Asian Perspectives 55(2), pp.184-207.
- Putzi, J.L., N.J. Divito, C.E. Sholin, P.R, Mills, S.P. Lundblad, B. Camara, and T.S. Dye 2015. Alternative Models of Volcanic Glass Quarrying and Exchange in Hawaiʻ. _Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 2, pp.341-352.
- ¹Gerrish, Hattie Wheeler. 2015. Marquesan Adzes in Hawaiʻi: Collections, Provenance, and Sourcing. Hohonu (A Journal of Academic Writing, UH Hilo) 13:14-18.
- Kirch, P.V., G. Molle, C. Nickelsen, P. Mills, E. Dotte-Sarout, J. Swift, A. Wolfe, and M. Horrocks. 2015. Human ecodynamics in the Mangareva Islands: a stratified sequence from Nenega-Iti Rock Shelter (site AGA-3, Agakauitai Island). Archaeology in Oceania. DOI: 10.1002/arco.5050.
- Mills, P.R. and S.P Lundblad. 2014. Current Perspectives on Hawaiʻi's Stone Tool Economies. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 5(2): 30-39.
- Charleux, M., McAlister, A., Mills, P.R., and Lundblad, S.P. 2014. Non-destructive XRF Analyses of Fine-grained Basalts from Eiao, Marquesas Islands. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 5(1):75-89.
- Lundblad, S.P., P. R. Mills, M. D. McCoy, . G. Kahn, ¹K. Mulliken and ¹Dane Kaylor. 2013. Identification of Volcanic Glass Sources Inferred from Geochemical Analysis of Artifacts on Leeward Hawaiʻi Island. In Pacific Archaeology: Documenting the Past 50,000 Years. Papers from the 2011 Lapita Pacific Archaeology Conference, edited by G. R. Summerhayes and Hallie Buckley. University of Otago Studies in Archaeology No. 25, Dunedin, NZ.
- Rieth, T.M., P.R. Mills, S.P. Lundblad, A.E. Morrison, A. Johnson. 2013. Variation in Lithic Sources utilized by Late Pre-Contact Elites in Kona, Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaiian Archaeology 13:103-130.
- Kahn, J.G., J.M. Sinton, P.R. Mills, and S.P. Lundblad. 2013. X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis and Intra-Island Exchange in the Society Island Archipelago (Central Eastern Polynesia)._Journal of Archaeological Science_ 40(2013):1194-1202.
- Stevenson, C.M. and P.R. Mills. 2013. A Chronometric Tool for Hawaiian archaeology: the hydration dating of Puʻu Waʻawaʻa trachytic glass. Journal of Archaeological Science. 40(2013):405-415.
- Staley, D.P., P.R. Mills and S.P. Lundblad. 2012. "I trust there will be no failure...": The importance of Bricks and Brickmaking at the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company’s Upper Works. The Journal for the Society For Industrial Archaeology 38(1):5-26.
- Kirch, P.V., P.R. Mills, S.P. Lundblad, J. Sinton, J.G. Kahn. 2012. Interpolity exchange of basalt tools facilitated via elite control in Hawaiian archaic states. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(4):1056-1061.
- Mintmier, M.A., P.R. Mills, S.P. Lundblad. 2012. Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of Haleakalā Basalt Adze Quarry Materials, Maui, Hawaiʻi, Journal of Archaeological Science 39(3):615-623.
- Mills, P.R., S.P. Lundblad, K. Hon, J.J. Moniz-Nakamura, ¹L.K. Kahahane, ¹A. Drake-Raue, ¹T.M. Souza ¹R. Wei. 2011. Reappraising craft specialization and exchange in pre-contact Hawaiʻi through non-destructive sourcing of basalt adze debitage, Journal of Pacific Archaeology 2 (2): 79–92.
- McCoy, M.D., P.R. Mills, S.P. Lundblad, T. Rieth, J. G. Kahn, R. Gard. 2011. A Cost Surface Model of Volcanic Glass Quarrying and Exchange in Hawaiʻi. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:2547-2560.
- Mills, P.R., S.P. Lundblad, J.S. Field, A.B. Carpenter, W.K. McElroy, ¹P. Rossi. 2010.Geochemical sourcing of basalt artifacts from Kauaʻi, Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Archaeological Science 37:(1):3385-3393.
- Lundblad. S.P., P.R. Mills, ¹A. Drake-Raue, S. K. Kikiloi. 2011. Non-destructive EDXRF analyses of archaeological basalts. In X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry in Geoarchaeology, pp. 65-80, edited by M. Steven Shackley. Natural Sciences in Archaeology Series. Springer Press, North America.
- Addison, David, Bryon Bass, Carl Christensen, John Kalolo, Steve Lundblad, Peter Mills, Fiona Petchey, Adam Thompson. 2009. Archaeology of Atafu, Tokelau: some initial results from 2008. Rapa Nui Journal 23(1): 5-9.
- Kahn, Jennifer G., Peter Mills, Steve Lundblad, John Holson, Patrick Kirch. 2008. Tool Production at the Nuʻu Quarry, Maui, Hawaiian Islands: Manufacturing Sequences and Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Analyses. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 30:135-165.
- Mills, Peter R., Steven P. Lundblad, ¹Jacob G. Smith, Patrick C. McCoy, ¹Sean P. Naleimaile. 2008. Science and Sensitivity: A Geochemical Characterization of the Mauna Kea Adze Quarry Complex,Hawaiʻi Island,Hawaiʻi. American Antiquity 73(4):743-758.
- Lundblad, Steven P., Peter R. Mills and Ken Hon. 2008. Analyzing Archaeological Basalt Using Non-destructive Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF): Effects of Post-depositional Chemical Weathering and Sample Size on Analytical Precision. Archaeometry 50 (1)1-11.
- Mills, Peter R. and Steven P. Lundblad. 2006. Preliminary Field Report: The Geochemistry of the Koʻokoʻolau Complex, Mauna Kea Adze Quarry (50-10-23-4136) TMK:4-4-15:10 . Report prepared for the Hawaiʻi Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) Commission. University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
- Steven P. Lundblad and Peter R. Mills, 2022. The Power of Plenty: reflecting on contributions to Hawaiian and Pacific archaeology through non-destructive EDXRF analysis. Online Workshop for the Society For Hawaiian Archaeology, May 11, Hilo, HI.
- ¹Colsen Balai, 2022. A Comparison of Marianas Andesitic Tools and Geological Samples with Energy-Dispersive Xray Fluorescence (EDXRF). April 29, Keaholoa STEM Scholars' Symposium, Hilo, HI.
- ¹Hōkū Fukuoka, 2021. Koʻi from Kaluakoʻi: Geochemical Analysis on Basalt Fragments from the West End of Molokaʻi. Keaholoa STEM Scholars' Hōʻike. Kilo: Environmental Kinship Through Observation. April 30, Hilo, HI.
- Mills, Peter R. and Steven P. Lundblad, 2020. Lasting legacies: An update on the ongoing research on Bill Barrera’s Archaeological Collections. Society For Hawaiian Archaeology Annual Conference (Oct. 2020).
- Mills, Peter R, 2019. Spectacular new views from the windowless lab: 15 years' worth of energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) in Pacific archaeology. College of William & Mary, Dept. of Anthropology, Reves Center, Williamsburg, VA April 2015.
- Mills, Peter R, 2017. Applications of non-destructive EDXRF analysis in Pacific Archaeology. Brown Bag Presentation, Ruthven Museum, University of Michigan, Sept. 2017.
- Mills, Peter R, 2017. Tracing the Movement of Ancient Hawaiian Adzes through the Islands, Mauna Kea Speaker's Series, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, August 24.
- Mills, Peter R, 2017. Science in Archaeology. Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School, August 2017.
- Mills, Peter R, 2016. The Significance of the Mauna Kea Adze Quarry, presentation to Keck Observatory Staff, Waimea, Hawaiʻi, August 2016.
- ¹Bailey, Heather, 2013. EDXRF of basalt artifacts from Puʻu Kehena, Leeward Kohala. 26th Annual Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference, Oct 11-13, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, p. 15.
- ¹Brandt, Lokelani, ¹Lima, Pulama, Mills, Peter, Lundblad, Steven, and McElroy, Windy, 2012, Lawa Pono ʻo Halawa, (Halawa is adequately supplied): The ahupuaʻa model demonstrated through stone tool economies of East Molokaʻi, Hawaiʻi, Abstracts 25th Annual Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference, Kona, Hawaiʻi, The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, p. 15.
- Lundblad, Steven, Mills, Peter, ¹Kaylor, Dane, and ¹Mulliken, Katherine, 2012, Geochemical analysis of lithic collections from Lanaʻi Island,Hawaiʻi using EDXRF: Evidence for inter-island exchange of lithic material in Maui County, Hawaiʻi, Abstracts 25th Annual Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference, Kona, Hawaiʻi, The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, p. 20.
- Mills, Peter R, and Lundblad, Steven P., 2012, Eight years and counting: A review of the EDXRF geochemical database from the UH Hilo Geoarchaeology Lab, Abstracts 25th Annual Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference, Kona, Hawaiʻi, The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, p. 19.
- ¹Mulliken, Katherine, Lundblad, Steven P., and Mills, Peter R., 2012, Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) analysis of volcanic glass from Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park,Hawaiʻi Island, Abstracts 25th Annual Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference, Kona, Hawaiʻi, The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, p. 20.
- ¹Kaylor Dane, Lundblad, Steven, Mills, Peter, ¹Mulliken, Katherine, 2012, Geochemical analysis of lithic collections from Lanaʻi Island,Hawaiʻi using EDXRF: A model for assessing museum collections in remote locations, _Abstracts, 8th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific, Living in Changing Island Environment_s, p. 31.
- Lundblad, Steven, Mills, Peter, Kahn, Jennifer, ¹Mulliken, Katherine, and ¹Kaylor, Dane, 2012, EDXRF analysis of H-3 highway project lithics: Implications for settlement patterns and exchange across O‘ahu, Hawaiʻi, Abstracts, 8th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific, Living in Changing Island Environments, p. 31.
- Mills, Peter R., and Lundblad, Steven P., 2012, The power of plenty: Contributions of EDXRF in building regional economic models of lithic procurement in Hawaiʻi, Abstracts, 8th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific, Living in Changing Island Environments, p. 31.
- ¹Katherine Mulliken and ¹Manning, Alexis. Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) Analysis of basaltic abraders from Leeward Hawaiʻi Island. 2011 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference.
- ¹Uʻilani Macabio. Geochemical Analysis of Ahu a ʻUmi Basalt and Volcanic Glass. 2010 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference.
- Steven P. Lundblad. Geochemistry of Stone Tool Sources on Hawaiʻi Island as Determined by EDXRF. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2009 Portland.
- ¹Charles Feeley. The Contribution of Non-Destructive Geochemical analysis to Museum Collections: an example from the Lyman Museum Collections. 2009 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference.
- ¹Tanya Souza. Stone Adzes of the Waimea Plain. 2008 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference.
- ¹Jacob Smith. Geochemistry of the Mauna Kea Adze Quarry Complex, 2008, Geol 494 Seminar.
- ¹Rachel Hunt. 2008, Soil Arsenic in Hawaiʻi, Geol 495 Seminar.
- ¹Mark Oxley. Pre-Contact Basalt Utilization of Pololu Valley, Hawaiʻi: Results of Recent EDXRF Analysis. 2007 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference.
- ¹Sarah Jones, 2007, Evaluation of Honokane Achaeological Artifacts, Geol 495 Seminar.
- ¹Mark Oxley et al. Changing Aspects of Basalt Distribution and Agricultural Production in Pololu Valley. 2006 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference.
- ¹Jenelle Peacock, 2005, Preliminary analysis of archeologic artifacts from Kahaluʻu rockshelter, Kona District, Hawaiʻi, Geol 495 Seminar.
- ¹Serena Williamson, 2004, Source Rock Geochemistry using EDXRF, Kaʻawaliʻi Gulch, Hamakua Coast, Geol. 495 Seminar.