Learning New Technique in Geochemical Analysis of Obsidian Artifacts Found in Philippine Archaeological Sites


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Study and Research Fellowships (East and Southeast Asia)


Archaeological Studies Program


University of Missouri


Obsidian is a natural glass produced by extrusive actions of volcanoes. As a raw material, this has been commonly used by people in the past as stone tools and ornaments. In addition, obsidian from each geological setting has a relatively distinct chemical "signature," which means that obsidian artifacts can be matched to their original geological source. Hence, understanding the mobility and exchange pattern of early people in the past. This study will conduct a geochemical analysis of the distinct chemical elements found in obsidian artifacts that were recovered in different archaeological sites in the Philippines. New methods will be employed by using different instrument/s in geochemical analysis. Aside from this, a comparative study on morphological and technological analysis will also be conducted on obsidian materials found in the Philippines and in the Americas. This training is part of my initial plan that will eventually lead to the formulation and establishing a regional database of all known obsidian sources in Southeast Asia.