Current Issues and Future Directions in Archaeological Volcanic Glass Studies

An Introduction
  • M. Steven Shackley
Part of the Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science book series (AAMS, volume 3)


Not since R.E. Taylor’s 1976 edited volume, Advances in Obsidian Glass Studies: Archaeological and Geochemical Perspectives has there been an attempt to update the recent advances in archaeological obsidian studies. In these last twenty years, the use of obsidian archaeometry has witnessed almost boundless expansion, party due to the concomitant advances in computer technology and instrumental chemistry, and partly due to a recognition by archaeologists that archaeometrists provide much more than mere measurement. The primary purpose here is to present the most recent advances in volcanic glass geochemistry and hydration analysis as a coarse gained perspective for glass studies in archaeology for the next century. Not all the analytical techniques are used for archaeological obsidian are discussed here, but the most commonly used instrumental techniques are presented in this volume.

Obsidian hydration studies have seen an equally rapid growth in the serve of archaeological problem solving, albeit with a bit more argumentative reasoning. The papers focused on hydration issues in this volume present very current methodological and theoretical studies that follow the high level of experimentation typical of hydration work.

A secondary purpose of this volume overall, and probably the most important goal, is to communicate these important advances to the users: the archaeologist in academia and the private sector that depend on the validity and reliability of archaeometric research often without questioning sampling or analytic methods. For these reasons, this volume will hopefully act a guide to the analytical techniques that are used by the archaeometrists, the sampling methods used at the source localities in the field, and the problems faced in both the field and the laboratory.


Neutron Activation Analysis Volcanic Glass Stepwise Discriminant Analysis Hydration Rate American Antiquity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Steven Shackley
    • 1
  1. 1.Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology and Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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