X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry is a prevalent means of non-destructive elemental analysis in archaeology, the earth and environmental sciences, cultural heritage and museum studies, and other fields. A few universities have specialized archaeological XRF laboratories.

We are fundamentally different. 

The Yale Archaeological XRF ExoLab (YAXX) is not a laboratory in the traditional sense. That is, our XRF instruments are not restricted to a particular room on campus. Instead, we use portable XRF instruments that can analyze artifacts or other objects in our Archaeomaterials Suite, across campus at the Peabody Museum or the Yale University Art Gallery, on a mountainside, or in an archaeological field house on the opposite side of the world. We work outside (“exo-”) the lab – hence, an “exolab.”

YAXX is part of the Yale Initiative for the Study of Ancient Pyrotechnology (Y-PYRO)YAXX is involved in teaching and research at all levels in the Department of Anthropology and Council for Archaeological Studies. Our students learn to use portable XRF in class demonstrations and exercises, undergraduate projects, and graduate studies.


One of the ten PYRO sets: 35 well-characterized specimens – 20 for calibration and 15 for evaluation – mounted in 25-mm epoxy discs.
September 1, 2019
A series of well-characterized specimens, known as the Peabody-Yale Reference Obsidians (PYRO) sets, has been designed to aid with calibrating and assessing X-ray...
YBC Lamaštu amulet (NBC 8151) in (a) reflected and (b) transmitted light, revealing its translucency and flow bands at 38° from the horizontal.
May 1, 2019
The corpus of sourced obsidian glyptic objects, like inscribed amulets and cylinder seals, is virtually nonexistent across the Near East. Here we report our findings for two...
Aerial photograph of Dura (facing southeast) taken by the French Air Force during the final excavation season in 1936–1937
April 1, 2019
The Hellenistic, Parthian, and Roman site of Dura–Europos (or simply “Dura”), dubbed the “Pompeii of the Syrian Desert” by Yale historian and archaeologist Michael...