New insights into the Mesolithic use of Melos obsidian in Anatolia: a pXRF analysis from the Bozburun Peninsula (southwest Turkey)

GEMİCİ H. C. , Dirican M., ATAKUMAN Ç.

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol.41, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.103296
  • Journal Name: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Index Islamicus
  • Keywords: Obsidian sourcing, Aegean, Late Pleistocene, Early Holocene, Epipalaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, VOLCANIC GLASS, PORTABLE XRF, NEAR-EAST, SEM-EDS, ARTIFACTS, PROVENANCE, CATALHOYUK, NETWORKS, CAVE, TEPE
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021 Elsevier LtdBozburun Peninsula, at the easternmost intersection of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas, yielded evidence from the Middle Palaeolithic to the Neolithic/Chalcolithic periods as a result of recent archaeological surveys. A significant number of the chipped stone artefacts discovered here are of obsidian, a raw material not native to the peninsula and one that ultimately must have been brought in from outside. All of the obsidian artefacts recovered from the Bozburun Peninsula were analysed using a portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometer to identify their geological provenance. Our results indicate the presence of four distinct obsidian sources in Bozburun: Melos (Cyclades) with its two separate outcrops, Giali A (Dodecanese), and Göllüdağ East (Cappadocia). The variety of sources represented in the peninsula and the long distances involved attest to the prehistoric connectivity in a region well suited to the movement of people and materials between the Aegean archipelago and the Anatolian mainland. Some of the geometric microliths, which were previously assigned to the final part of the Pleistocene and the earlier stages of the Holocene based on typological criteria, were determined to be coming from the island of Melos. If the typological assessment holds, this occurrence in the Bozburun Peninsula may mark the earliest occurrence of Melos obsidian in Anatolia, long before it was widely distributed in the Neolithic period.