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More than just a shiny stone? The sources and significance of obsidian found in early state contexts in the Near East

Author(s): Elizabeth Healey ; Stuart Campbell

Year: 2015

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Summary

Obsidian is a visually attractive material. Artefacts made of obsidian are regularly documented in early state contexts in the Near East (for example Atij, Gudeda, Mari, Ras Shamra, Atchana, Mozan) and its use for vase manufacture is well known at sites such as Acem, Kultepe, Atchana, Warka, Ur and so on. It is also used to make beads and other personal items (Ur, Assur and elsewhere). Less well known though, are the origins of the obsidian from which these objects are made. In our paper, after an overview of the range of objects made of obsidian, we will focus on those for which we have geochemical data. Our evaluation of this data will allow us to discuss whether the origin of the obsidian as a material was taken account of by contemporary society or whether its appearance was the main reason for it selection. We will consider whether its origins affected how and where it was used or whether its exotic nature had ceased to be significant.

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More than just a shiny stone? The sources and significance of obsidian found in early state contexts in the Near East. Elizabeth Healey, Stuart Campbell. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394988)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America