Chlorine as a Discriminant Element to Establish the Provenance of Central Mediterranean Obsidians

Silvio Giuseppe Rotolo, Franco Foresta Martin, Manuela Nazzari, Silvio G. Rotolo, Maria Luisa Carapezza, Manuela Nazzari

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1 Citazioni (Scopus)


Chlorine is a minor element present in obsidians in quantities greater than in average igneous rocks. The chlorine concentration in obsidians is generally low, of the order of tenths of wt %, but it exhibits an appreciable differentiation among geological sources. Despite these characteristics, chlorine has rarely been taken into consideration as a possible indicator of obsidian provenance and it does not appear in the chemical analytical tables accompanying the geochemical characterisation of obsidian samples. In this work, after an overview of chlorine geochemistry and cycle, we present thirty-one new electron microprobe (EPMA) analyses, including Cl, of geologic obsidians sampled from the four sources of the Central Mediterranean, exploited in prehistoric times (Monte Arci, Palmarola, Lipari and Pantelleria). The results are compared with 175 new EPMA analyses, including Cl, of archaeological obsidians already characterised in previous work and of known provenance. As such it was possible to ascertain that each source has a characteristic chlorine concentration, showing the utility of its use in the studies of obsidian provenance. Furthermore, given that the solubility of chlorine in silicate melts is correlated to its alkali content, in particular sodium, we assessed the efficacy of simple binary graphs Cl vs Na2O to better constrain the provenance of the obsidian samples.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)454-476
Numero di pagine23
RivistaOpen Archaeology
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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