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Patterning in procurement of obsidian in Chaco Canyon and in Chaco-era communities in New Mexico as revealed by X-ray fluorescence
Journal of Archaeological Science (2012)
  • John Kantner
  • Andrew I Duff
  • Jeremy M Moss
  • Thomas C Windes
  • M Steven Shackley
X-ray fluorescence analysis of obsidian artifacts from sites located in Chaco Canyon and from three Chaco-era communities in New Mexico permits determination of their geological origin. These source data are used to describe patterning in obsidian procurement in sites located in Chaco Canyon dating from A.D. 500–1150, and in a three non-Canyon communities occupied during the period of Chaco Canyon's regional prominence (ca. A.D. 875–1150). These data demonstrate that the most proximate sources generally dominate the sourced obsidian assemblages from sites of all periods, but also suggest differences in procurement patterning both over time and across space. Within Chaco Canyon, there is a notable shift from Mount Taylor obsidian to use of Jemez Mountains sources over time. These data also suggest that earlier analyses of obsidian from sites in Chaco Canyon misidentified some obsidian artifact sources; these new data indicate the central areas of disagreement and provide a revision of procurement patterning. In the Chaco-era communities located outside Chaco Canyon, procurement patterning diverges. The Blue J community shows an increase in use of the nearby Mount Taylor source over time. Two communities located toward the southern extent of the Chaco great house distribution reveal a markedly distinct procurement pattern, obtaining nearly all of their obsidian from southern sources largely unrepresented at Chaco Canyon. Combined, these data provide new insights into raw material procurement and artifact production at sites in Chaco Canyon, and in communities occupied during the Chaco Phenomenon, the period of the Canyon's greatest regional influence.
  • American Southwest,
  • Chaco Canyon,
  • Chacoan regional system,
  • Obsidian,
  • X-ray fluorescence analysis
Publication Date
September, 2012
Citation Information
John Kantner, Andrew I Duff, Jeremy M Moss, Thomas C Windes, et al.. "Patterning in procurement of obsidian in Chaco Canyon and in Chaco-era communities in New Mexico as revealed by X-ray fluorescence" Journal of Archaeological Science Vol. 39 Iss. 9 (2012) p. 2995 - 3007 ISSN: 0305-4403
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