Dating of hydrated obsidian surfaces by SIMS-SS

  • I. Liritzis
  • M. Diakostamatiou
  • C. M. Stevenson
  • S. W. Novak
  • Ihab Abdelrehim


A new approach to dating ancient obsidian artifacts based on the modeling of water diffusion profiles is evaluated using multiple archaeological test cases of known age. Hydrogen profiles from hydrated obsidian surfaces have been collected by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). The H2O concentration versus depth profiles are modeled and diffusion ages have been produced. SIMS based dates for fourteen obsidian specimens of well-known age, ranging from 300-7000 years old, have been compared with radiocarbon ages. The convergence between the two dating methods is excellent and validates the new dating approach.


Diffusion Profile Aztec Middle Woodland Obsidian Sample Midden Deposit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    I. Friedman, W. Long, Science, 159 (1976) 347.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W. Ambrose, Austral. Archaeol., 19 (1984) 64.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Mazer, C. Stevenson, W. Ebert, J. Bates, Amer. Antiquity, 56 (1991) 504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    I. Friedman, F. Smith, G. Smith, Quat. Res., 41 (1994) 185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    C. M. Stevenson, J. Mazer, B. Scheetz, in: Archaeological Obsidian Studies: Method and Theory, M. S. Shackley (Ed.), Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science, Vol. 3, New York, Plenum Press, 1998, p. 181.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    C. M. Stevenson, I. Liritzis, M. Diakostamatiou, S. W. Novak, Mediterranean Archaeol. Archaeometry, 2 (2002) 3.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    L. M. Anovitz, J. M. Elam, L. R. Riciputi, D. R. Cole, J. Archaeol. Sci., 26 (1999) 735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    L. R. Riciputi, J. M. Elam, L. M. Anovitz, D. R. Cole, J. Archaeol. Sci., 29 (2002) 1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9a.
    R. H. Doremus, in: Reactivity of Solids, Proc. 6th Intern. Symp., C. W. Mitchell (Ed.), Wiley, New York, 1969, p. 667.Google Scholar
  10. 9b.
    R. H. Doremus, J. Mater. Res., 10 (1995) 2379.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    C. M. Stevenson, I. Abdelrehim, S. W. Novak, J. Archaeol. Sci., 28 (2000) 109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 11.
    Y. Zhang, E. M. Stolper, G. Wasserburg, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 55 (1991) 441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 12.
    Y. Zhang, H. Behrens, Chem. Geol., 169 (2000) 243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 13.
    R. Bruckner, J. Non-Crystall. Solids, 5 (1970) 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 14.
    P. F. McMillan, B. T. Poe, P. Gillet, B. Reynard, Amer. Mineral., 8 (1994) 1145.Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    T. Drury, G. J. Roberts, J. P. Roberts, in: Advances in Glass Technology, Papers of the 6th Intern. Congress on Glass, Plenum Press, New York, 1962, p. 249.Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    R. R. Lee, D. A. Leich, T. A. Tombrello, J. E. Ericson, I. Friedman, Nature, 250 (1974) 44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 17.
    M. Nogami, M. Tomozawa, Phys. Chem. Glasses, 25 (1984) 82.Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    H. Behrens, M. Nowak, Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., 126 (1997) 377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 19.
    I. S. T. Tsong, C. A. Houser, N. A. Yusuf, R. F. Messier, W. B. White, J. W. Michels, Science, 201 (1978) 339.Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    J. Crank, The Mathematics of Diffusion, 2nd ed., Oxford Science Publication, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1975.Google Scholar
  22. 21.
    L. Boltzmann, Annln. Phys., 53 (1894) 959.Google Scholar
  23. 22.
    I. Liritzis, M. Diakostamatiou, Mediter. Archaeol. Archaeom., 2 (2002) 1.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    R. S. Brodkey, I. Liritzis, M. Diakostamatiou, Transport phenomena and archaeology: Application to obsidian hydration dating, Intern. Workshop, Melos Island, Greece, 2–6 July, 2003, University of the Aegean and IAOS, Rhodes (Abstract Book).Google Scholar
  25. 24.
    C. M. Stevenson, in Easter Island Archaeology: Research on Early Rapa Nui Culture, C. M. Stevenson & W. S. Ayres (Eds), Los Osos, Easter Island Foundation, Bearsville Press, 2000, p. 205.Google Scholar
  26. 25.
    C. Renfrew, M. Wagstaff, An Island Polity: The Archaeology of Exploitation in Melos, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1982.Google Scholar
  27. 26.
    A. Sampson (Ed.), The Neolithic Settlement at Ftelia, Mykonos, University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies, Rhodes, 2002.Google Scholar
  28. 27.
    H. C. Shetrone, Ohio State Archaeol. Historic. Quart., 35 (1926) 1.Google Scholar
  29. 28.
    E. Brumfiel (Ed.), Production and Power at Postclassic Xaltocan: Pittsburgh & Mexico City, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology and the Instituto Nacional de Anthropologia e Historia (in press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publisher/Akadémiai Kiadó 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Liritzis
    • 1
  • M. Diakostamatiou
    • 1
  • C. M. Stevenson
    • 2
  • S. W. Novak
    • 3
  • Ihab Abdelrehim
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Archaeometry, Department of Mediterranean StudiesUniversity of the AegeanRhodesGreece
  2. 2.Virginia Department of Historic ResourcesRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Evans East 104 Windsor CenterEast WindsorUSA

Personalised recommendations