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Social Interaction at Distance Over the Long Term: Obsidian Sourcing from the Southern Levant (9th – 4th millennia cal BC)

Author(s): Tristan Carter ; Zachary Batist ; Kathryn Campeau ; Yosef Garfinkel ; Danny Rosenberg

Year: 2017

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The McMaster Archaeological XRF Lab is dedicated to undertaking major regional obsidian sourcing studies, not least in the Eastern Mediterranean where we have the North American geological source sample collection. We take a holistic, integrated approach, melding chemical composition with the artefacts’ techno-typological characteristics, contextual information and other pertinent data to produce ‘thick description’ narratives. In this case we consider obsidian circulation and consumption amongst Southern Levantine populations over five millennia, from Pre-Pottery Neolithic B to the Early Bronze Age (9th-4th cal millennia BC).

Artefacts were analysed using EDXRF spectrometry from Nahala Lavan 109, Beisamoun, Sha’ar Hagolan, Ein el Jarba, Tell Tsaf, Tell Ali and Marj Rabba. Sourcing data is then located within a broader Levantine, South-East Anatolian and Mesopotamian context using Social Network Analysis. The results show that while the relative quantities of these exotic products (closest sources >800km distant) in circulation did not change significantly, the range of raw materials increased significantly through time, from an initial reliance on central Anatolian products, to the use of central, eastern and north-eastern Anatolian and Armenian obsidian. The expanded socio-economic networks that underpinned these Southern Levantine communities’ access to obsidian are interrogated with regard to larger cultural dynamics of these periods.

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Social Interaction at Distance Over the Long Term: Obsidian Sourcing from the Southern Levant (9th – 4th millennia cal BC). Tristan Carter, Zachary Batist, Kathryn Campeau, Yosef Garfinkel, Danny Rosenberg. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431387)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16909

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