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Proximity and Provenance: A Lesson from the Sterling Cache, Idaho

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eScholarship - University of California
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Abstract

Geochemical analysis of nine obsidian bifaces ("blanks") from the Sterling Cache, southern Idaho, was undertaken and the results contrast with the source (chemical type) ascription advanced for the specimens in the original report (Pavesic 1966). Trace element data show that obsidian from the closest source was not used to manufacture any of the artifacts in the cache, although three more distant obsidian sources (chemical types) are represented. These results provide another object lesson that proximity to 'source' is no guarantee that local provenance for artifact materials can reliably be inferred.

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