Exchange networks from Close-up: The case of Lipari obsidian. Andrea Vianello

published: 16 Oct 2015  |  
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  • SESSION 2 – Ancient lithic trade and economics
    Exchange networks from Close-up: The case of Lipari obsidian

    The island of Lipari was a primary source of obsidian in the Neolithic Mediterranean. The particular location of the Aeolian Islands, of which Lipari is one, has been conducive for the formation of long-distance exchange networks. Indeed, most islands were probably settled on a temporary basis and visited primarily to acquire artefacts for exchange.

    A systematic program of research conducted now in the past few years has attempted to trace the dispersal of obsidian materials from Lipari and Pantelleria combining typological data, elemental data from pXRF and the study of prehistoric exchange networks. The main purpose is to detect differences among local contexts to reconstruct the progressive development of the networks as well as any local dynamics and constraints. This approach helps testing network analysis, currently a favoured methodology, which assumes that similar social dynamics were at work along routes recognised by one dominant material. The pXRF has been able to discriminate the procurement of obsidian not only between major islands, but also among subsources within the islands, allowing for a fine grained reconstruction of the networks.

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