INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR OBSIDIAN STUDIES
WORLD OBSIDIAN SOURCE CATALOG
Obsidian Falls spills over the edge of the Obsidian Cliffs source flow, Three Sisters Wilderness Area, Oregon High Cascades. The plateau at the top of the falls is covered by vast quantites of obsidian chipping debris and artifacts from the source are found at archaeological sites in Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia.
Welcome to the International Association for Obsidian Studies (IAOS) Obsidian Source Catalog. The drop-down menu below will provide you with geographically organized lists or brief descriptions of obsidian sources found throughout the world.
Awareness and Protection of Prehistoric Resources
Many of the obsidian sources listed here are associated with the prehistoric procurement of natural glass. Please do not collect artifacts at these sources. This may not only be illegal (active prosecution of artifact collectors has proceeded with increased aggressiveness in recent years in the United States) but irrevocably erases and destroys the archaeological history of these significant areas. Strict limits on the amount of geologic material removed may be maintained and collection permits may be required for obsidian found on public lands (inquire locally). Please limit flintknapping activities to well-recognized areas so that the archaeological record remains as undisturbed as possible.
Caveat Emptor - The obsidian source catalog remains a work in progress
Please keep in mind that the obsidian source catalog project provides only a snapshot of what remains a moving target - geoarchaeological and geochemical investigations of obsidian sources and artifacts are an area of active research and new sources are being located, relocated, and geochemically identified on a regular basis. The catalog listings available here are still somewhat preliminary and may be incomplete and unfinished. Some of the sources shown may simply represent duplicate names of known or listed sources; other sources are as yet unverified and may or may not exist. We continue to systematically review and refine the different lists - adding new sources, deleting nonexistent ones, combining multiple names for same sources, and more carefully distinguishing among the different geochemical source groups.
An Inivitation for IAOS World Source Catalog Regional Source Contributors and Editors
While we try to maintain an accurate listing of worldwide obsidian sources, there are many geographic regions, particularly those outside of the United States and Canada, for which we have incomplete or inaccurate information. We would like to invite any regional obsidian source specialists to have a look at the Source Catalog and get back to us if you spot any problems. We'll make any necessary changes to the catalog and give you the credit (below).
Our thanks to Dr. Maria Victoria Fernández [IIDyPCa (Instituto de Investigaciones en Diversidad Cultural y Procesos de Cambio)-CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Río Negro (San Carlos de Bariloche)] for her efforts in updating the Patagonia obsidian source catalog (Argentina and Chile).
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Last Updated: 11/01/2021
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