Long-Distance Exchange of Obsidian in the mid-Atlantic United States

  • Carolyn D. Dillian
  • Charles A. Bello
  • M. Steven Shackley


Continuing research into the possibility of super-long-distance exchange of obsidian materials has revealed additional archaeological specimens bolstering theories of exchange across the North American continent. A collection of obsidian artifacts from East Coast archaeological sites has been analyzed using X-ray fluorescence to reveal West Coast geologic provenance. Increasing numbers of specimens with well-documented archaeological provenience suggest that super-long-distance exchange existed prehistorically. Though transport existed on a continental scale, we argue the mechanism for exchange happened on a personal scale through hand-to-hand and person-to-person interaction.


Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis Archaeological Site Rhyolitic Lava Lithic Material Archaeological Specimen 
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.



This research was supported in part by a Social Sciences Research Grant from Princeton University and a research grant from the Archaeological Society of New Jersey. We would like to thank Jack Cresson; Megan Springate, Monmouth County Historical Association; Christina Rieth, New York State Museum; Joe Connelly; Tamara Johnston, Bryn Mawr College; Ed Lenik; Glen Saunders; Al Luckenbach; Dick George; Peabody Museum, Harvard University; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; American Museum of Natural History; and the Massachusetts Archaeological Society for providing samples for analysis. Any errors are, of course, our own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn D. Dillian
    • 1
  • Charles A. Bello
    • 2
  • M. Steven Shackley
    • 3
  1. 1.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.FEMA Region 3PhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.University of California-BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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