Nuclear Analytical Methods in Geological and Archaeological Studies

Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 180, Issue 1, pp 29-35

First online:

Sourcing archaeological obsidian by an abbreviated NAA procedure

  • M. D. GlascockAffiliated withMissouri University Research Reactor
  • , H. NeffAffiliated withMissouri University Research Reactor
  • , K. S. StrykerAffiliated withMissouri University Research Reactor
  • , T. N. JohnsonAffiliated withMissouri University Research Reactor

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An abbreviated NAA procedure has been developed to fingerprint obsidian artifacts in the Mesoamerican region. Despite the large number of available sources, an NAA procedure, which relies on producing short-lived isotopes, has been applied with a success rate greater than 90 percent. The abbreviated NAA procedure is rapid and cost competitive with the XRF technique more often applied in obsidian sourcing. Results from the analysis of over 1,200 obsidian artifacts from throughout Mesoamerica are presented.