The Social Dynamics of Obsidian Use in the Prehistoric Western Mediterranean: Temporal Changes in Maritime Capabilities, Lithic Technology, and Sociopolitical Complexity
In the western Mediterranean, obsidian was an important lithic material, coming from four Italian islands and found at archaeological sites up to several hundred kilometers away. Analytical studies of many thousands of artifacts have identified their specific geological sources, and revealed chronological and geographic changes in their selective use through the Neolithic and Bronze Ages (ca. 6000-1000 BC). These data are used to assess economic and social dynamics regarding access to and territorial control of the sources, and the production and distribution of obsidian cores and tools.
We specifically compare the social dynamics of obsidian usage from the large island of Sardinia with that of the small island of Lipari, for several time periods. Elemental analysis of artifacts and identification of specific geological subsources for each island is well established, while the use of a non-destructive portable XRF in museums and other facilities over the last decade has tremendously expanded the number of artifacts tested. The variables addressed include the quality, quantity, and accessibility of the raw material; technological developments and specialization in lithic artifact production; and socioeconomic changes from early farmers in the Neolithic to complex societies in the Bronze Age.
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The Social Dynamics of Obsidian Use in the Prehistoric Western Mediterranean: Temporal Changes in Maritime Capabilities, Lithic Technology, and Sociopolitical Complexity. Robert Tykot, Kyle Freund, Andrea Vianello. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429344)
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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;
Abstract Id(s): 14379