GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 275-9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


SIMONE, Diana, Geology, Kent State University, 325 S. Lincoln St, 221, Kent, OH 44242; Geology, Kent State University, 325 S. Lincoln St, 221, Kent, OH 44242

Chert stone tool artifacts are found in great abundance and are studied by archaeologists looking for clues on the economy and trade of the prehistoric civilizations. Two main interests are provenance of the tool stone and the purity of the rock. Currently, the common practice to determine provenance is by visually comparing color. However, since chert has a large color variance and often colors of one outcrop can look very similar to another, this method is since human sight has a limited color spectrum. As for purity, there are unsupported theories that prehistoric people specifically chose certain chert to make their tools. For chert, the more silica it contains, the harder the rock will be, and thus, the more durable the tool. Through a geochemical analysis of a set of early Holocene artifacts and known chert outcrops, I intend to determine the provenance and the purity of these samples without depending on conventional methods. We will utilize an Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (ED-XRF) to measure major and minor elements along with an Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) to quantify trace elements. We aim to use this data to understand if arrowheads were displaced from their original source through “geo-sourcing.” Implementing geochemical techniques to understand source and purity, will give us hindsight into the nuisances of trade, raw material selection, and the complexities of pre-historic American economies during the early Holocene.
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