As clear as crystal? An attempt at sourcing hydrothermal quartz crystals from the Early Mesolithic site ‘Mohalsen-I’, Vega Island, Norway using LA-ICP-MS and SEM-CL
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIn: Dag Erik Færø Olsen (ed.) (2022). The Stone Age Conference in Bergen 2017.
This article describes an attempt at sourcing hydrothermal quartz crystals from the Early Mesolithic site Mohalsen-I by comparing four pieces of debitage with quartz crystal samples from 19 known quartz crystal occurrences in Norway. Through identifying a possible source, the hope was that we could shed light on mobility patterns and raw material procurement strategies in the research area. The samples were analysed using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and scanning electron microscopy cathodoluminescence (SEM-CL). Through analysing SEM-CL images and the chemical composition of five samples from the Berglia- Glassberget occurrence in Lierne, we found similar structural features and chemical concentrations of selected trace elements in the samples. This indicates that the method is a viable approach to sourcing hydrothermal quartz crystals from archaeological contexts. However, no clear parallel for the samples from Mohalsen-I was discovered, indicating that the source is not among the quartz crystal occurrences analysed here. The research conducted will serve as a basis for potential future investigations and as a reference for similar studies.