Apr 04

BCST - Following Ancient Footsteps: Archaeological Obsidian Research in Beringia

Beringia Centre Science Talks are back! Join us as we explore fascinating topics in archaeology, natural science, and palaeontology.

For this talk, we'll be joined by archaeologist Jeff Rasic, an archaeologist currently working for the National Parks Service in Fairbanks, Alaska.

About the Talk
Obsidian--naturally occurring volcanic glass--has been used by people across the world for thousands of years to create tools for hunting, hide working, artistic expression, and even surgery. Beringia has numerous geological sources of obsidian, and scattered across the landscape are thousands of archaeological sites containing obsidian tools and artifacts originating from these sources after having traveled distances of up to hundreds of miles. One of the remarkable qualities of obsidian from an archaeologist's standpoint is that with the use of certain analytical methods an obsidian artifact can be confidently connected with the location of its geological origin. With these precise beginning and end points in hand an otherwise silent artifact can provide unique insights into past land use, travel, and social interaction. In this talk I will take listeners on a tour across Beringia with stops at major sources of obsidian as well as key archaeological sites with collections of obsidian tools, and detours to search for "lost" obsidian sources--those used in the past, but which have eluded rediscovery by contemporary geologists and archaeologists. We'll walk in the footsteps of prospectors, travelers, and artisans from long ago, learn about recent research findings, and it will hopefully pique your interest to explore the topic more on your own.

Join us LIVE on Facebook and Zoom on Thursday April 4, 2024 @ 11 am PST. Click here to go to the Facebook event. Can't watch on Facebook? Register for the Zoom webinar here.