Obsidian Sourcing Studies

Tools of the Archaeologist

Obsidian is a volcanic glass found in many locations across the Southwest. Using an X-ray flourescence to identify elements specific to each obsidian source, the Cañada Alamosa Project has been able to source the over 800 obsidian flakes and artifacts recovered. As the majority of obsidian in the canyon had to be imported, these data have enabled the project to demonstrate the changing trends in obsidian procurement. In general, the earliest periods were acquiring their obsidian from northern sources. As time went on the western sources became more and more prevalent, reflecting changing relationships and connections across the Southwest.

Location of Obsidian Source Regions

Obsidian projectile point

Next: Projectile Point Sequence