Evocative Stones: Variable Obsidian Source Use in Northern California

Author(s): Carolyn Dillian

Year: 2015


Northern California contains multiple, geochemically distinct, high-quality obsidian sources that were quarried in prehistory. However, not all were exploited equally. Instead, selection patterns suggest that some obsidian sources were reserved for manufacture of specific types of objects, while others could be used for more routine tools. The geologic and cultural context of the obsidian source may offer explanations for why differential quarrying and use occurred. Glass Mountain in Siskiyou County, California, provides a case study for selective use of obsidian for special objects. Just as obsidian objects fulfilled utilitarian or symbolic functions, obsidian sources retained special roles within prehistoric contexts.

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Cite this Record

Evocative Stones: Variable Obsidian Source Use in Northern California. Carolyn Dillian. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394991)


Geographic Keywords
North America - California

Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;