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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Quartzite complexities: Non-destructive analysis of bifacial points from Vasterbotten, Sweden

Sjolander, Mattias; Linderholm, Johan; Geladi, Paul; Buckland, Philip I.


Northern Fennoscandia is a geologically complex region affected by both glacial and postglacial processes. Quartzite was a key material type utilized by hunter-gatherers in Northern Sweden around the period 4 000 - 2 000 BP, and is thus critical to the understanding of raw material procurement and material flow within the region. However, there is a severe lack of methodological development in the characterization of these materials, and provenance of locally available geological material is complex and fraught with uncertainty. 126 quartz/ quartzite points and preforms were sampled from 47 archaeological sites along the upper angstrom ngerman river valley in Va center dot sterbotten, Sweden. The material has been analysed non-destructively using three separate portable spectroscopic instrumentations (Near-infrared, Raman, X -Ray Fluorescence). Evaluation of the spectra and exploratory data analysis using Principal Component Analysis demonstrates detectable differences in the material that likely stem from diagenetic/paragenetic origin. The presence of graphite, muscovite and biotite could likewise provide information on the material's metamorphic grade. In addition to reaffirming the potential of field -based screening instrumentation, these results will benefit future surveys of geological sources in the region. They also indicate potential for the construction of a predictive model that could classify the quartzite based on its chemical characteristic. Such a model would prove useful in future spatial analysis and testing of models of raw material management.


Hunter-Gatherer; Lithics; Provenance; Quartzite; Vibrational spectroscopy; Scandinavia

Published in

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
2024, Volume: 53, article number: 104381
Publisher: ELSEVIER

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