The first archaeometric characterization of obsidian artifacts from the archaeological site of Samshvilde (South Georgia, Caucasus)

  • M. F. La Russa
  • L. RandazzoEmail author
  • M. Ricca
  • N. Rovella
  • D. Barca
  • S.A. Ruffolo
  • D Berikashvili
  • L. Kvakhadze
Original Paper


This paper presents the first results about the provenance of obsidian fragments recovered in the archaeological site of Samshvilde (South Georgia, Caucasus) with the aim to obtain knowledge related to the network distribution and procurement of obsidian in Georgia. The geochemical characterization of thirty archaeological finds was obtained by the LA-ICP-MS method, an almost non-destructive technique capable of chemically characterizing the volcanic glass. A comparison of geochemical results obtained on both archaeological artefacts and geological samples collected from Chikiani outcrop in Georgia, together with literature data of southern Caucasus and eastern Turkey, allowed us to define the source of the archaeological obsidians of Samshvilde site. The majority of archaeological samples (28/30) shows a local provenance, precisely from Chikiani (Georgia) on the contrary the other two samples suggest a provenance from two different Armenian sources respectively Gegham and Akhurian volcanic system.


Obsidian Trace elements LA-ICP-MS Samshvilde Georgia 



The Italian Embassy in Tbilisi (Georgia) is acknowledged for the support in the management of international relations that allowed the beginning of the present research. Anonymous reviewers are thanked for critically reading the manuscript and suggesting substantial improvements.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth SciencesUniversity of CalabriaArcavacata di RendeItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research CouncilBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Department of ArchaeologyAnthropology and Art of the University of GeorgiaTbilisiGeorgia
  4. 4.International Archaeological Centre of the University of GeorgiaTbilisiGeorgia

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