Geochemical characterisation of carnelian beads from Aceramic Neolithic Cyprus using portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (pXRF)

Moutsiou, Theodora, and Kassianidou, Vasiliki (2019) Geochemical characterisation of carnelian beads from Aceramic Neolithic Cyprus using portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (pXRF). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 25. pp. 257-265.

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Abstract

This paper presents the results of the compositional analysis conducted on carnelian beads from Aceramic Neolithic sites on the island of Cyprus. Carnelian is a rare raw material with alleged geological sources in the broader eastern Mediterranean–western Asia region. Most of these sources remain little explored and no detailed data concerning their geochemical signatures and elemental composition are available. Carnelian, albeit an exogenous material, is found in small quantities in lithic assemblages from Cypriot sites dating to 8500–5200 Cal BCE. The paper discusses these occurrences and uses non-destructive pXRF technology to (a) attempt to identify distinct geochemical groups (i.e. exploited sources) within these assemblages, and (b) use this information to infer the role of Cyprus within the broader eastern Mediterranean social landscape and exchange networks of the Early Holocene. Our analyses suggest multiple origins for the carnelian raw material and, more significantly, demonstrate that occasionally other materials, visually indistinguishable from carnelian, were used in bead manufacture. We consider the symbolic role of these raw material choices and propose that these early island communities engaged in a system of linked values with their mainland counterparts dependent on the materials exchanged objects were made of.

Item ID: 60147
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-4103
Funders: European Union (EU)
Projects and Grants: EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions grant number no. 656148
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 03:20
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210105 Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant @ 60%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europes Past @ 100%
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