publication . Article . 1999

The failure of obsidian hydration dating: Sources, implications, and new directions

Lawrence M. Anovitz; J.Michael Elam; Lee R. Riciputi; David R. Cole;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 Jul 1999
Obsidian hydration dating (OHD) originally promised to be a rapid, inexpensive, simple and reliable method for dating obsidian artefacts. The perceived elegance of OHD resulted in rapid acceptance and widespread application despite questions concerning its theoretical rigor. With increased usage it has become evident that, while economical, simple and fast, OHD is unreliable. Here results of a secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) study of obsidian and synthetic glass artefacts are presented that explain why OHD has not lived up to expectations. The results suggest that the standard OHD equations are inappropriate and that traditional optical measurements are i...
free text keywords: Archaeology, History, Mineralogy, Obsidian hydration dating, Geology, Optical measurements
Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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