Macusani obsidian from southern Peru: A characterization of its elemental composition with a demonstration of its ancient use

Nathan Craig, Robert Speakman, Rachel Popelka-Filcoff, Mark Aldenderfer, Luis Blanco, Margaret Vega, Michael Glascock, Charles Stanish

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    30 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Transparent obsidian artifacts have been reported for the northern Lake Titicaca Basin. Based on instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) of these artifacts a distinct chemical group was identified. Yet, the location of the source of transparent obsidian in the southern Andes remained unreported in the archaeological literature. This paper reports on the chemical composition and geographic location of a source of transparent obsidian from the Macusani region of Peru. Through the use of INAA and portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) we demonstrate that Macusani obsidian or macusanite comprises (at least) two chemical groups. One of these groups was used for making artifacts during the Archaic Period. Artifacts made of this obsidian were found more than 120 km from the source and yet, one-third of the obsidian artifacts encountered at Macusani were from the non-local source of Chivay which is 215 km to the southwest.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)569-576
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Volume37
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

    Keywords

    • INAA
    • Obsidian
    • Peru
    • PXRF

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Macusani obsidian from southern Peru: A characterization of its elemental composition with a demonstration of its ancient use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this