image/svg+xml113 X/2/2019 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: Sourcing Obsidian from Late Neolithic Sites on the Great Hungarian Plain: Preliminary p-XRF Compositional Results and the Socio-Cultural Implications Danielle J. Riebe a* a The Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA 1. Introduction Chipped stone tool analysis is an essential aspect of prehistoric archaeological research throughout Europe, especially in regard to reconstructing developments in technology (see Kertész, 1994; Kozłowski, 2001; Perlès, 1987; 1990; Voytek, 1986), dietary and subsistence practices (see Eichmann, 2004; Kertész, 2003), and socio-economic systems of exchange (see Biró, 1998a; 2006; Cann and Renfrew, 1964; Renfrew et al. , 1965; Starnini and Voytek, 2012; Torrence, 1986; Tykot, 2002a). Intensive studies on chipped stone tools from Neolithic sites throughout the Great Hungarian Plain have been used to understand individual site use (see Erdélyi-Bácskay, 2007; Starnini, 1994; Starnini and Szakmány, 1998; Starnini et al. , 2007), and until more recently, fewer studies focused on synthesizing these results to model chipped stone tool variation at the regional scale (see Biagi and Starnini, 2013; Biró, 1984; 1987; 1998a; 1998b; Kovács, 2013). Moreover, ascertaining provenance of chipped stone tools in the region has been traditionally determined through macroscopic analysis (see Biró, 1984; 1987; 1998a; 1998b; Erdélyi-Bácskay, 2007; Kertész, 1994; Kovács, 2013; Starnini, 1994). However, when dealing with a very homogenous material that has a large visual spectrum, such as obsidian, visual analysis can be misleading, which in turn can result in misinterpretations regarding material access, acquisition, and exchange (see Braswell et al. , 2000; Moholy-Nagy, 2003; Tykot, 2002b).Since the 1970s, compositional studies on Carpathian obsidian sources have made it possible to geochemically diferentiate the sources (Biagi et al. , 2007; Glascock et al. , 2015; Kasztovszky and Biró, 2006; Kasztovszky et al. , 2019; Kasztovszky et al. , 2014; Kasztovszky et al. , 2008; Oddone et al. , 1999; Riebe, 2016; Rosania et al. , 2008; Williams and Volume X ● Issue 2/2019 ● Pages 113–120 *Corresponding author. E-mail: ARTICLE INFO Article history: Received: 23 rd March 2019 Accepted: 18 th November 2019DOI: 10.24916/iansa.2019.2.1 Key words: P-XRF Analysisobsidian sourcingprehistoric European archaeologypatterns of exploitationsocio-cultural boundaries ABSTRACT Signifcant archaeological research has been conducted on chipped stone tools recovered from prehistoric sites throughout Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The limited number of obsidian geological sources in the region, combined with the relatively homogeneous nature of obsidian and the increased use of new techniques for conducting compositional analysis in the feld, has facilitated an accurate sourcing of obsidian artefacts from sites in the region. This article presents the compositional results of 203 obsidian artefacts recovered from seven Late Neolithic (5,000–4,500 BCE) sites from the Great Hungarian Plain. Compositional results of the archaeological specimens obtained with a Bruker portable X-ray fuorescence device (p-XRF) were compared with obsidian geological compositional data to determine artefact provenance. By sourcing the obsidian chipped stone tools, it is possible to reconstruct prehistoric patterns of exploitation/exchange and to note how these patterns vary throughout the Plain. The results illustrate that the majority of the studied artefacts originated from the Carpathian 1 source and only a limited number of samples came from the Carpathian 2E and Carpathian 2T sources. Based on this preliminary study, the variation in geological source exploitation may be linked to socio-cultural practices that diferentiated the Tisza and Herpály archaeological units during the Late Neolithic.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2019 ● X/2 ● 113–120Danielle J. Riebe: Sourcing Obsidian from Late Neolithic Sites on the Great Hungarian Plain: Preliminary p-XRF Compositional Results and the Socio-Cultural Implications 114 Nandris, 1977; Williams Thorpe, 1978; Williams Thorpe et al. , 1984). Four major sources are known in the region: Carpathian 1, Carpathian 2E, Carpathian 2T, and Carpathian 3 (Figure 1). While technology has signifcantly improved making it possible to inexpensively carry out compositional analysis in the feld, p-XRF analysis of obsidian from prehistoric sites in Hungary has not been published previously. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is two-fold: frstly, to identify if diferent patterns of obsidian exploitation occurred during the Late Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain and if so, what social implications can be discerned from the variability. Secondly, while site-specifc studies are essential, it is necessary to contextualize the sites and their assemblages within a regional framework. Through p-XRF analysis of obsidian, it is possible to use the analytical results to begin reconstructing regional systems of interaction and model socio-cultural developments in the past. As part of an ongoing research project that is investigating the extent to which regional interactions impacts socio-cultural boundaries in the past, obsidian specimens from seven Late Neolithic sites located on the Great Hungarian Plain were selected for p-XRF compositional analysis. The following results are preliminary in scope but illustrate the success of compositional analysis in reconstructing Late Neolithic regional interactions, including material exploitation and exchange, across the Great Hungarian Plain. 2. The region During the Late Neolithic (5,000–4,500 BCE), there were three major archaeological units on the Great Hungarian Plain (Figure 1). The Csőszhalom archaeological unit was restricted to the far north along the northern part of the Tisza River, the Herpály archaeological unit was located in the middle of the Plain with sites predominantly situated along the Berettyó River, and in the southeastern part of the Plain was the Tisza archaeological unit with sites found along the Körös, Tisza, and Maros Rivers and their tributaries. There are a number of socio-cultural aspects that help to distinguish these archaeological units, chief among them being architectural style, subsistence practices, burial and ritual practices, and ceramic stylistic design (Kalicz and Raczky, 1987; Tálas and Raczky, 1987). While three archaeological units inhabited the region at this time, the focus of this study is on sites located in the Körös and Berettyó River Valleys. Between these two rivers, previous research has successfully modeled the presence of a strongly enforced boundary between the Herpály and Tisza cultural units (see Riebe, 2016).In particular, one feature that both the Late Neolithic Tisza and Herpály sites have in common is their locational defciency in regard to raw geological sources for creating chipped stone tools. Geographically, the Great Hungarian Plain is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is surrounded by a series of mountains that encircle the Plain. Exceptional research has been carried out on the lithic assemblages from many prehistoric sites in Hungary and while it is commonly accepted that exchange of some sort ( i.e. , down-the-line, direct procurement, and/or central redistribution) occurred in order for Late Neolithic inhabitants on the Plain to acquire geological materials for chipped stone tools, modeling this exchange has been limited in execution (Kovács, 2013; Riebe, 2016). 3. Methods Early studies on obsidian in the region were ground breaking in terms of illustrating that compositional variation existed between diferent Carpathian sources. The initial success by scholars like O. Williams-Thorpe and J. Nandris (1977) in discerning obsidian source diferentiation was