Magnetic analysis lets archaeologists match obsidian artifacts from Syria to the specific quarry—not just the volcano—of origin.
“Our magnetic tests were chosen in part for their simplicity so that most rock magnetism laboratories could take the necessary measurements and apply this new approach worldwide. We did not want to develop a technique that could only be done in one or two laboratories in the world. It was important the approach be accessible, making it as ‘open source’ as possible,” says Ellery Frahm, Research Fellow in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology.
The cultural significance of artifacts to Syria’s heritage, which is under threat due to the current conflict, is an important part of Frahm’s research. “During my fieldwork in Syria, I identified some spectacular artifacts that should be curated and displayed to the Syrian public at the Deir ez-Zor archaeological museum.
“Unfortunately, Deir ez-Zor has been a center of fighting since summer 2011. The last time I had an update, the museum had become a stronghold for the Syrian military, even with snipers on the roof, and it appears that when they pulled out last fall, the museum was essentially trashed,” explains Frahm.
Full story at Futurity.
More research news from top universities.
Photo credit: Dr._Colleen_Morgan/Flickr