A microwave digestion technique for the dissolution of peat is described and compared with a dry ashing method and a nitric - perchloric - hydrofluoric acid wet digestion. Peat samples with different organic matter contents were used and Ca, Mg, Fe, AI, Na, K, Mn, Zn, Cu and Li were determined by atomic absoprtion spectrometry. The results obtained using the three dissolution techniques were in good agreement. The microwave method has the advantage of digesting the samples in less than 2 h and uses less acid than the conventional wet digestion method. Keeping the volume of the acid mixture as small as possible minimises contamination and leads to lower blank values.