Mediterranean Islands and Multiple Flows

The Sources and Exploitation of Sardinian Obsidian
  • Robert H. Tykot
Part of the Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science book series (AAMS, volume 3)


Obsidian tools found at prehistoric sites in the Mediterranean are evidence of a complex series of activities including procurement and transport of the raw material from island sources, production and distribution of cores or finished tools, and consumption and eventual disposal. Recent developments in the study of the western Mediterranean sources include the localization and characterization of five Monte Arci (Sardinia) sources used in antiquity; more detailed survey and characterization of the Lipari, Pantelleria, and Palmarola sources; and the provenance determination by ICP-mass spectrometry and electron probe microanalysis of more than 700 tools from sites in Italy and France doubles the provenance data previously available for reconstructing western Mediterranean exchange systems and provides a framework for interpreting the specific cultural context in which their acquisition was embedded. Furthermore, the analysis of samples from each stratigraphic level of multi-component sites such as Grotta Filiestru in Sardinia and Basi in Corsica allows for temporal control over three millennia. While differential use of the various obsidian sources has been recognized in peninsular Italy, it is apparent now that distribution patterns vary both geographically and chronologically, and in ways not explained by differences in accessibility or functional suitability between sources.


Fission Track Neolithic Site MEDITERRANEAN Island Archaeological Artifact Obsidian Sample 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. Tykot
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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