International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 248–262 | Cite as

Microwear Analysis of Retouched Glass Fragments from Fortlet Miñana, Azul, Argentina, 1860–1863



This paper presents the results of a microscopic analysis conducted on supposedly retouched glass fragments that were likely used as tools. The pieces were recovered in a series of excavations performed at the historical site of Fortlet Miñana (1860–1869), a military settlement used during the war against the Indians on the southern border of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. The use of glass as raw material in archaeological sites of the historic period has frequently been reported in the Pampas and Patagonian regions. In this paper we present a review of ethnohistoric and ethnographic sources concerning the use of glass side scrapers, end scrapers, and arrowheads by aboriginal groups throughout the world. In order to perform the analysis, the glass fragments from Fortlet Miñana were compared to a series of experimental pieces on which traces of deliberate use on two kinds of raw material, wood and hide, were identified. The experimental approach and the microscopic analysis demonstrate that the retouched glass fragments recovered at Fortlet Miñana were not used as tools. Therefore, we conclude that microscopic analysis is of significant use to all researchers working with materials of this kind.


Glass Experimental archaeology Microwear analysis Argentina 



Special thanks are due to Estela Mansur for her constructive comments on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ignacio Clemente Conte
    • 1
  • Facundo Gómez Romero
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Arqueología y AntropologíaInst. Milá y Fontanals-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de PrehistoriaUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Facultat de LletresBellaterraSpain

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