Chemical Sourcing and Technical Analysis of Volcanic Glass Lithics from the Grissom Site (45KT301)


Nik Simurdak

Faculty Mentor(s)

Patrick McCutcheon (Anthropology & Museum Studies)


The Grissom site (45KT301) is a large archaeological site with artifacts spanning pre-contact to historic periods. Past research by Central Washington University students sought to understand stone tool type variation, distribution, and diversity across space and time in the site. This has included an effort to chemically source lithics made from volcanic glass using x-ray fluorescence. Combined with technological analysis, chemical sourcing reveals patterns of trade and exchange by showing which sources are most represented and how much processing of different source materials occurred. This project built on previous research by completing the sourcing analysis across 59 of 114 newly identified volcanic glass artifacts. Our results were combined with past results permitting us to look at source representation across the entire site excavation area. The results show that two local sources represent 49% of the sourced pieces and demonstrate the greatest diversity of object type and reduction sequences. Two more distant sources, though having far fewer cores and bifaces, represent the greatest proportion of flakes (n=32) than the two local sources (n=30). A total of 13 sources, some over 250 miles away, are represented in the site. Areas of intensive tool production were also identified through total lithic artifact counts.

Keywords: Tools, Obsidian, Sourcing


1 thought on “Chemical Sourcing and Technical Analysis of Volcanic Glass Lithics from the Grissom Site (45KT301)”

  1. Nice project, and I look forward to learning in detail what you found out. I got a glimpse from your presentation, but could not see any way to actually look at the poster. Maybe later? Good luck!

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