New direction in Melos obsidian characterization

New direction in Melos obsidian characterization

Eder, F.; Neelmeijer, C.; Pearce, N. J. G.; Sterba, J. H.; Bichler, M.; Merchel, S.

In 2006, Arias et al.[1] chemically characterized a new obsidian source on the island of Melos. This third obsidian source, obsidian blocks inside the volcanoclastic deposits at Agios Ioannes, was claimed to be well distinguishable from the two well-known sources Agia Nychia and Demenegakion.
Following a sampling campaign in 2010, investigations of samples collected from all three Melos obsidian finding spots (Agia Nychia, Demenegakion, Agios Ioannes) were performed by three complementary analytical techniques (Neutron Activation Analysis, Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry, Ion Beam Analysis). Unfortunately, investigations had to be conducted on rubblestones, since the obsidian blocks described by Arias et al. could not be located. The “chemical fingerprint” composed of 43 elements clearly separates the rubblestones into the two known groups of Agia Nychia and Demenegakion. Elevated Sb concentrations already mentioned in Arias et al. could be confirmed but are probably attributed to a local contamination.

References: [1] Arias et al., J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 268 (2006) 371–386.

Keywords: ion beam analysis; archaeometry; PIXE; PIGE

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