Title

The application of visible/near-infrared reflectance (VNIR) spectroscopy to chert: A case study from the Dover Quarry sites, Tennessee

Abstract

Prehistoric cultural material is commonly composed of chert, due in large part to its physical properties that are conducive to tool manufacture. Despite its ubiquity, archaeologists are faced with an arduous task when attempting to source chert artifacts to known quarries/deposits. The application of visible/near-infrared reflectance (VNIR) spectroscopy to chert sourcing attains a cost-efficient, fast, non-destructive, and accurate means of identifying material type and geologic/geographic origin. This study examines the merits of VNIR spectroscopy within chert sourcing studies by highlighting a material-based case study from the Dover Quarry sites, Tennessee. Results demonstrate the ability of VNIR spectroscopy to differentiate chert types from different geologic formations with 98% accuracy. However, accuracy significantly decreased when attempting to distinguish particular outcrops within the same formation. Although the application of VNIR spectroscopy to chert sourcing is in its experimental phase, the preliminary results compare favorably with other provenance techniques whose aim is to quantify inter-outcrop variation. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication Title

Geoarchaeology

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