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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Maori Obsidian Use Explored

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Zealand obsidianAUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND—The New Zealand Herald reports that Caleb Gemmell of the University of Auckland used data on obsidian artifacts unearthed at pre–European contact Maori sites on the North Island to explore possible ways the Maori traveled throughout New Zealand. Previous testing had determined where the material originated. The study suggests that distinct communities of Maori were obtaining obsidian from different sources, even though they may have been geographically close to each other. “This suggests that simple economic explanations for obtaining obsidian based on the distance of an archaeological site to an obsidian source were not valid, and more interesting social factors were coming into play,” Gemmell said. For more, go to “Obsidian and Empire.”

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