X-Ray Fluorescence

Determining the origins of the raw materials used by ancient peoples can be an important part of determining the pattern early trade networks or migration routes. Obsidian is a glassy volcanic stone highly prized by ancient peoples – despite the fact that it only occurs naturally in certain places. A scientific analytical technique called X-Ray Flourescence can be employed to determine the trace element "fingerprint" of any obsidian artifact. Comparison of this fingerprint with the prints of known sources can determine the source for the artifact.

As a research tool, Lifeways regularly carries out obsidian sourcing studies. For this purpose we use only creditable laboratories offering competitive rates and relevant comparative libraries. Because Lifeways is a large organization, we are frequently available to receive valume discounts on sample processing, a saving that is passed on to our clients.



Did you know that...

That the large glacial erratic stones found up and down the Foothills, such as the Big Rock in Okotoks, derive from rockfall in Jasper National Park that was deposited far to the south by glaciers? First Nations people recognized this and wove the erratics into their stories about the earth.