Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Nancy White, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Ph.D.


Mediterranean, Nuragic culture, Stone tools, Typologies, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


The Sardinian Bronze Age (Nuragic period) and the factors which created and maintained an island-wide identity as seen through the presence of its distinctive nuraghi have received considerable attention; however the amount of research directly related to the stone tools of the era has been relatively limited despite the wealth of knowledge it is capable of yielding. This thesis hopes to contribute to Sardinian archaeology through the study of ancient technology, specifically obsidian lithic technology, by combining typological information with source data gleaned from the use of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF). These data are integrated with statistical analyses breaking down the spatial distribution of nuraghi across the island through the use of distance-based methods, including k-means and kernel density analyses, which create a more comprehensive understanding of the island-wide political and social structure. This research will test the hypothesis that changes in the acquisition of obsidian raw materials were coupled with corresponding changes in how the obsidian was used. The results provide precedence for future work in Sardinia and create a model for integrating two types of analyses, sourcing and typological. By combining these results, it is possible to investigate how obsidian influenced the ancient economy as well as assess its cultural significance for people of the past.