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Article
Macusani Obsidian from Southern Peru: A Characterization of its Elemental Composition with a Demonstration of its Ancient Use
Journal of Archaeological Science (2010)
  • Nathan Craig
  • Robert J. Speakman
  • Rachel S. Popelka-Filcoff
  • Mark S. Aldenderfer
  • Luis A. Flores
  • Margaret Brown
  • Michael D. Glascock
  • Charles Stanish
Abstract

Transparent obsidian artifacts have been reported for the northern Lake Titicaca Basin. Based on instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) of these artifacts a distinct chemical group was identified. Yet, the location of the source of transparent obsidian in the southern Andes remained unreported in the archaeological literature. This paper reports on the chemical composition and geographic location of a source of transparent obsidian from the Macusani region of Peru. Through the use of INAA and portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) we demonstrate that Macusani obsidian or macusanite comprises (at least) two chemical groups. One of these groups was used for making artifacts during the Archaic Period. Artifacts made of this obsidian were found more than 120 km from the source and yet, one-third of the obsidian artifacts encountered at Macusani were from the non-local source of Chivay which is 215 km to the southwest.

Keywords
  • Obsidian,
  • Peru,
  • PXRF,
  • INAA
Publication Date
2010
Citation Information
Nathan Craig, Robert J. Speakman, Rachel S. Popelka-Filcoff, Mark S. Aldenderfer, et al.. "Macusani Obsidian from Southern Peru: A Characterization of its Elemental Composition with a Demonstration of its Ancient Use" Journal of Archaeological Science Vol. 37 (2010)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/luis_flores/2/