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    STUDIA GEOLOGIA - Issue no. 3 / 2003  

  Abstract:  Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass, of high interest both to geologists, archaeologists and physicists (Earle & Ericson, 1977; Hughes, 1988). Geologists and physicists are interested in the chemical and respectively the physical properties of obsidian, while archaeologists are primarily interested in its cultural features. Because of its workability and capacity to form sharp edges during the spliting, obsidian was preferred by most of the pre-metal ancient cultures for obtaining tools and weapons, at the same time being the object of continuous commercial exchanges. Elaborate networks sometimes carried away the obsidian raw material as well as the artifacts into the areas where it was not naturally available and where it attained a position of high value. The ability to identify the geological sources of the archaeological obsidian artifacts provides a key to the reconstruction of extinct systems of contact, trade and population movements. Different patterns of obsidian distribution in space and time may also offer information on the social structures of the prehistoric peoples. A number of different methods have been developed to "fingerprint" or characterize obsidian in correlation with the geological sources. For example, obsidian artifacts from the Mediterranean islands have been recently investigated (Villeneuve et al., 2002) using electron paramagnetic resonance of Fe3+ ions, thus revealing that in the Aegean area the main natural source of obsidian was Melos Island. In Anatolia the main obsidian sources were the Agicol and Ciftlik locations. It is well-known that the main Central European obsidian sources were the Viničky (ZemplÚn Mts., East-Slovakia) and Eperjes (Tokaj Mts., North-Hungary) occurrences (Thorpe et al., 1984), related to Neogene volcanics. The obsidian from Slovakia, known as Carpathian 1-type, is grey-black or black in colour and slightly translucent. The Hungarian obsidian, of Carpathian 2-type has black colour and is almost opaque. The present study focusses on the iron content (obtained by electron paramagnetic resonance and X-ray fluorescence) of archaeological obsidian artifacts discovered in the sites from the north of Romania as well as some obsidian artifacts of Slovakian origin. The resulted data have been compared, with the aim to identify the provenance sources of Romanian obsidian artifacts. ...  
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