Obsidian Sourcing in Bandung, Indonesia

Stephen Chia, Lufti Yondri, Truman Simantunjak
2010 Asian Perspectives  
introduction Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass, which was widely used during prehistoric times as cutting implements probably because it is shiny and attractive, and can be worked easily into implements with razor-sharp edges. Obsidian is formed through relatively fast cooling of high-silica lava domes and flows that are usually very homogeneous in chemical composition. The geological occurrence of obsidian is typically very limited and its homogeneous chemical composition is often highly
more » ... is often highly characteristic of a particular source. Its relatively limited occurrence made it a valuable item of trade or exchange during prehistoric times. Although obsidian artifacts are brittle and have a short use-life, they are highly durable and can be found in archaeological sites over thousands of years old. As such, obsidian serves as an excellent material for studies in prehistoric sourcing, trade, or exchange. In the last 30 years or so, research in the Mediterranean, the southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia have produced successful results using obsidian sourcing to extract information on prehistoric trade and exchange. This is mainly because linking obsidian artifacts to geographical sources can be successfully done using a wide range of techniques such as X-ray flourescence analysis, electron microprobe analysis, neutron activation analysis, proton-induced gamma-ray emission method, and proton-induced X-ray emission method (Ambrose et al.
doi:10.1353/asi.2010.0000 fatcat:irdosbbqzbde7hblwblwqf7nle