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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Hyperspectral Imaging for Characterization of Lithic Raw Materials: The Case of a Mesolithic Dwelling in Northern Sweden

Sciuto, C.; Geladi, P.; La Rosa, L.; Linderholm, J.; Thyrel, M.


This study proposes a method for the classification of lithic raw materials by means of hyperspectral imaging, a non-destructive fast analytical technique. The information potential of this approach was tested on a dwelling site dated to mid-late Mesolithic (7200-5800 BP) at Lillsjon, angstrom ngermanland, Sweden. A dataset of lithic tools and flakes (2612 objects) made of quartz and quartzite, was analyzed using a shortwave infrared hyperspectral imaging system. The classification of the raw materials was performed applying multivariate statistical models. A random test set of 55 artefacts was selected, classified according to spectral signature and divided into categories corresponding to different geological materials. The same test set was analyzed with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (ED XRF) to validate the classification. The entire dataset of lithics collected on the site was then classified applying a SIMCA model. The distribution of items on the site was visualized in a 3D GIS platform according to their geological characteristics to highlight patterns that could indicate different use of the space and dynamics of raw materials supply over time.


Lithic raw materials; hyperspectral imaging; ED-XRF; chemometrics; intra-site analysis; Swedish Mesolithic semi-subterranean dwellings

Published in

Lithic technology
2019, Volume: 44, number: 1, pages: 22-35