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Obsidian, Ustica (Italy), pXRF, Neolithic, Lipari, Pantelleria

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This article presents the first archaeometric research carried out so far on a group of obsidian artifacts collected in the promontory of Pirozza-Spalmatore, the site of a Neolithic settlement on the small island of Ustica (Sicily, Italy). The obsidian assemblage, consisting of 28 artifacts, was subjected to optical, typological and geochemical analyses, the latter carried out by means of a portable pXRF, in order to determine their provenance. The results indicate that 89% of the fragments come from geologic obsidian outcrops on the island of Lipari, and 11% from the island of Pantelleria. It is thus ascertained that, during the Neolithic, Ustica used two different sources of obsidian, located 150–250 km away from the site. These obsidian sources were typical of some western Sicily prehistoric villages, while eastern Sicilian villages seem to have imported obsidian exclusively from Lipari. The analyses indicate that all the obsidian artifacts attributed to Lipari come from the geological deposit of Gabellotto, while those attributed to Pantelleria come from the two distinct deposits of Lago di Venere and Balata dei Turchi.

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Open Archaeology, v. 5, issue 1, p. 4-17