Reflectance Transformation Imaging: A Unique Approach for Imaging Use-Wear on Obsidian Artifacts

Author(s): Kele Missal

Year: 2017


Use-wear analysts use various methods of imaging in order to identify patches of wear on stone tool surfaces. Obsidian, however, creates several imaging roadblocks for use-wear analysts who often depend upon light microscopy for their analyses. The integration of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has allowed use-wear analysts to derive better image results from obsidian objects as it removes interference from color, surface reflectivity, and transparency. Yet SEM also has several drawbacks for use-wear analysts, namely cost of running the analysis and lengthy processing time. In recent years, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) has gained traction as an imaging method that can reduce interference from variables such as sheen and transparency. This makes RTI well suited for imaging obsidian artifacts. Use of RTI for identification of wear features remains relatively unexplored. RTI is a fast process that uses inexpensive components to produce high-quality, two-dimensional results. This poster presents preliminary results from a study designed to identify use-wear on obsidian artifacts imaged via RTI. I demonstrate how RTI provides a potential complimentary imaging method that can be applied to problematic raw materials for the identification and analysis of wear features.

Cite this Record

Reflectance Transformation Imaging: A Unique Approach for Imaging Use-Wear on Obsidian Artifacts. Kele Missal. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430091)

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Obsidian RTI Use Wear

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15839