Obsidian hydration relative dating

They introduced the obsidian hydration dating method to the archaeological community in It may be used in two ways: as a relative dating method to.
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Sources, Implications, and New Directions. Journal of Archaeological Science Ancient Mesoamerica 4 2: Friedman, Irving and John Obradovich. Obsidian Hydration Dating of Volcanic Events. Friedman, Irving and Robert L. Part I, The Development of the Method. Friedman, Irving and F.

Obsidian Hydration Services

Obsidian Hydration Dating Update. American Antiquity 48 3: Trembour, and Richard E. In Chronometric Dating in Archaeology, edited by R. Friedman, Irving, Fred W. Smith, and George I. Quaternary Research 41 2: Reasserting the Utility of Obsidian Hydration Dating: Liritzis, Ioannis and Nikolaos Laskaris.

Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids Jack Rink and Jeroen W. Encyclopedia of Earth Science Series. Springer Dordrecht, New York. Progress and Prospects in Obsidian Hydration Dating.

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Meighan and Glenn S. A Coming of Age. Tsong, and Charles M. Obsidian Dating and East African Archeology.


Wicket, and Aaron Barkatt. Considerations of Hydration-rind Dating of Glass Artifacts: Technical Studies, by Robert U. Skinner, and Richard M. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology Mazer, and John K. Implications for Obsidian Hydration Dating. Mazer, and Barry E. Laboratory Obsidian Hydration Rates. In Archaeological Obsidian Studies: Method and Theory, edited by M. Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science Series. The more intrinsic water present within an obsidian artifact, the faster it will hydrate and the faster the hydration rim will form.

Three steps are required to determine a calendar date from an obsidian artifact. These are the determination of: A hydration rate is determined for every artifact through a measurement of the amount of intrinsic water that is present. This is done by either a direct infrared spectroscopic measurement of the volcanic glass, or by a determination of the volcanic glass density made by submersion in a heavy liquid. Once the quantity of water is known a hydration rate is estimated.

A small sample is cut out perpendicular to the edge of the obsidian artifact using a diamond-impregnated saw.


A lapidary machine is used to grind down the obsidian sample until it is very thin. It is glued to a clear microscope slide with Canada balsam. The obsidian sample is ground a second time until it less than 50 microns in thickness. A microscope is then used to optically measure the hydration rind on the petrographic thin section. The hydration layer is measured at x using a Watson image-splitting instrument. This is the most precise optical instrument that can be used. It has an error factor of about 0. In order to adjust the experimental hydration rate to the conditions at the archaeological site, the soil temperature and soil relative humidity need to be well estimated.

On short term projects, ambient conditions can be estimated from weather records. For studies that take longer than a year, thermal cells can be buried at the archaeological site. The small capsules are placed at multiple depths that typically span a depth range of 5 cm to cm below ground surface. About 8 cells are required to establish a temperature and relative humidity curve for the site. With this background work done, the environmental conditions can be determined for any context at a site.

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The Limitations of Obsidian Hydration Dating Using this technique, any sample of obsidian can be dated. There are several limitations, however. International Association for Obsidian Studies.

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Ancient Mesoamerica 4 2: Friedman, Irving and F. Obsidian Hydration Dating Update. American Antiquity 48 3: Friedman, Irving Fred W. Smith, and George I. Quaternary Research 41 2: A Coming of Age.

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