Neolithic diffusion of obsidian in the Western Mediterranean: New data from Iberia

  • Terradas X
  • Gratuze B
  • Bosch J
 et al. 
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We analyse the origin of all obsidian artefacts recovered up to date from Neolithic sites of north-eastern Iberia, which are the only documented ones in the whole Iberian Peninsula. Despite the antiquity of one of the findings, they had never been studied in detail. The recent discovery of the other remains has allowed us to better clarify its context and specify its absolute chronology. All the archaeological sites where obsidian tools have been recovered can be placed somewhere between the end of the fifth millennium and the first centuries of the fourth millennium cal BC, corresponding to the full Middle Neolithic. The study about its origins shows clearly that it can be linked to the island of Sardinia, namely the SA source. Its spread can be associated to the time that the Sardinian obsidian reaches maximum intensity in its exploitation and maximum diffusion around the Mediterranean coasts. In this sense, the artefacts recovered in the Iberian sites are the ones located to a farthest distance from their source of origin, about 1200km away. The linking of these products to individual burial grave goods, along with other non-native elements of nature, indicates that its value exceeds the strictly utilitarian. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Grave goods
  • Middle Neolithic
  • North-eastern Iberia
  • Obsidian diffusion
  • Sardinia
  • Western Mediterranean

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  • Xavier Terradas

  • Bernard Gratuze

  • Josep Bosch

  • Roser Enrich

  • Xavier Esteve

  • F. Xavier Oms

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