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Chemical analysis of their trace elements now allows most of the sources to be distinguished (especially by neutron activation and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry), so that the pattern of trade spreading out from each can be traced.Two dating methods have been applied to obsidian: it generally went out of favor for everyday purposes (perhaps as a result of competition from metal tools) but it continued to be used for prestige objects in some areas, especially by the Minoans and Mycenaeans.SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hyalopsite, Iceland agate, mountain mahogany CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A jet-black to gray, naturally occurring volcanic glass, formed by rapid cooling of viscous lava.It was often used as raw material for the manufacture of stone tools and was very popular as a superior form of flint for flaking or as it is easily chipped to form extremely sharp edges.Obsidian was also exchanged even though there are volcanic tuffs, lavas, and post-volcanic hot springs..It is situated on a high plateau and, until the unification of the two Yemen states in 1990, was part of North Yemen (San'a'), though it lay near the disputed frontier with South Yemen.
There is no evidence of food production or herding.The layer of hydrated obsidian is visible when a slice of the artifact is examined under an optical microscope at a magnification of x 500. The land was poor for agriculture, but marine resources were exploited and the small center was quite wealthy.Hydration varies geographically, and several factors such as climate, chemical environment, and physical abrasion also affect the thickness of the layer, so that most studies are locally or regionally based. There is evidence of long-distance contact with Teotihuacan before it was abandoned, like other Maya ceremonial centers, c 900 AD. The area was also important for sources of obsidian, which was exploited from the Upper Palaeolithic onwards and was extensively traded in the Neolithic.They domesticated goats and cultivated emmer, wheat, and barley.There was a succeeding PPNB phase in which the buildings changed to complexes of large rectangular rooms, each with small workshops attached and with plastered floors and walls.
Burials without skulls were found and there was also a separate ritual area away from the village.