Cappadocian obsidian exchange networks in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A: a Southern Levantine perspective from el-Hemmeh (Jordan)

Tristan Carter, Daniel A. Contreras, Kathryn Campeau, Cheryl A. Makarewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anatolian obsidian is ubiquitous, but present in only scant amounts, in lithic assemblages recovered from Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) settlements of the southern Levant. These sparse quantities have long been interpreted to indicate down-the-line exchange of obsidian via larger regional exchange systems that underpinned information flow amongst early food- producing societies. Here, we explore these networks in the southern Levant through analyses of obsidian artifacts from the PPNA site of el-Hemmeh, Jordan. EDXRF spectroscopy indicates that the obsidian used at el-Hemmeh originated from East Göllü Dağ in central Anatolia, echoing a pattern observed at other southern Levantine sites. We combine obsidian sourcing data for other PPNA sites in southwest Asia with assemblage structure and techno-typological data, to draw out previously unrecognized regional differences in obsidian consumption patterns. This allows us to argue for the existence of distinct exchange networks connecting the inhabitants of the southern Levant and the Middle Euphrates to Anatolian obsidian sources. We conclude that southern Levantine communities accessed their East Göllü Dağ obsidian via a trans-Lebanon and/or maritime route rather than through contemporary communities in the Middle Euphrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103857
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • EDXRF analysis
  • Göllü Dağ
  • Obsidian exchange
  • Obsidian sourcing
  • Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
  • southern Levant
  • southwest Asian Neolithic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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