Egyptological Information from chemical analysis: The provenance of obsidian and glass
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S ome materials found in archaeological sites have chemi - cal or mineralogical characteristics which differ from one geological site to another. Comparing the characteristics of the archaeological artifact with the characteristics of different geo - logical environments might allow the identification of the original source of the material. This work presents chemical composi - tion provenance studies on glass (natural and artificial) based on trace elements concentration and lead isotope composition. On the one hand, obsidian—a natural volcanic vitreous material—found in some Upper Egyptian tombs from the Na - qada period seems to originate from the oriental African vol - canos, probably from Ethiopia, or from the Arabian volcanos (in western Yemen), according to the uranium, thorium and tantalum concentrations. On the other hand, the chemical analysis of some Egyptian glasses indicates that, during the 18th dynasty, glass was ma - nufactured in Egypt with Egyptian materials (instead of being a Mesopotamian import) and some of them were colored also with Egyptian materials (e.g. galena from the Gebel Zeit mi - nes). The lanthanum and chrome concentrations clearly differ between glasses made in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, allowing the determination of the Egyptian provenance of glasses used in the Mycenaean world
CitationGimenez, F. Egyptological Information from chemical analysis: The provenance of obsidian and glass. "Damqatum", 2014, vol. 10, p. 3-10.