Obsidian Sources Characterized by Neutron-Activation Analysis

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Science  26 Jul 1968:
Vol. 161, Issue 3839, pp. 382-384
DOI: 10.1126/science.161.3839.382


Concentrations of elements such as manganese, scandium, lanthanum, rubidium, samarium, barium, and zirconium in obsidian samples from different flows show ranges of 1000 percent or more, whereas the variation in element content in obsidian samples from a single flow appears to be less than 40 percent. Neutron-activation analysis of these elements, as well as of sodium and iron, provides a means of identifying the geologic source of an archeological artifact of obsidian.

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