Distinguishing Nemrut Daĝ and Bingöl A obsidians: Geochemical and landscape differences and the archaeological implications

Ellery E Frahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Distinguishing the geochemically similar Bingöl A and Nemrut Daĝ peralkaline obsidians is a major challenge in Near Eastern obsidian sourcing. Despite abundant claims in the literature otherwise, this study reveals that Bingöl A and Nemrut Daĝ obsidians are distinguishable with adequate source sampling and highly accurate and repeatable data for geochemically important elements. Earlier research has endeavored to link a simple geochemical trend (peralkalinity) to specific locations at Nemrut Daĝ, but existing schemes to distinguish Bingöl A and Nemrut Daĝ obsidians cannot validly link compositional clusters to the landscape. This study demonstrates that additional elements are required to attribute artifacts to specific obsidian-bearing lava flows at the volcano. Limitations of this newly analyzed collection of geo-referenced Nemrut Daĝ and Bingöl specimens suggests caution is still warranted in sourcing peralkaline obsidians, but a few archaeological implications are clear. New sourcing results from Tell Mozan in northeastern Syria refute a widespread assumption that one can use maximal efficiency to deduce whether peralkaline obsidian artifacts originated from Nemrut Daĝ or Bingöl A. The ability to discern among these sources also enables inquiries into issues of cultural and technological preferences regarding these obsidians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1436-1444
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Anatolia
  • Bingöl A
  • Near East
  • Nemrut Daĝ
  • Obsidian
  • Sourcing
  • Tell Mozan

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