Sourcing obsidian at GARG

Obsidian, a volcanic glass, is a particularly well-suited tool for understanding past trade and travel networks. Each obsidian flow has indeed a unique geochemical ‘fingerprint’, which allows each artefact to be traced back to its geological source and initial archaeological collection region. Since the 1960s, analytical methods used to characterise obsidian and other rocks have seriously improved in precision and effectiveness.

At GARG, we primarily use portable XRF and LA-ICP-MS to study the provenance of obsidian artefacts from the Western Mediterranean area (Corsica) and, more recently, the Caucasus (Azerbaijan).

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