Producing adornment: Evidence of different levels of expertise in the production of obsidian items of adornment at two late Neolithic communities in northern Mesopotamia


  • Elizabeth Healey School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester
  • Stuart Campbell School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester



obsidian, obsidian as personal adornment, Domuztepe, Arpachiyah


In the Near East obsidian is of particular interest to archaeologists because it is an exotic material and best known for is use in tool manufacture, but it is also occasionally used to make items of personal adornment. Some of these items are very highly finished, while others appear much more rudimentary though it is by no means obvious why this should be. Here we will review such artefacts at two contemporary late Neolithic communities, Domuztepe in SE Anatolia and Tell Arpachiyah in northern Iraq. Both have seemingly unusually high numbers of such objects as well as evidence for obsidian tool production on site. At Domuztepe some objects are highly finished while others appear much more ad hoc. At Arpachiyah on the other hand, the objects appear very similar to each other so as to seem standardised or at least the product of a single workshop. Our main aim in this paper is to try to unravel the evidence needed to determine whether they were produced on site, or whether they were acquired as finished objects (or both).


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How to Cite

Healey, E., & Campbell, S. (2014). Producing adornment: Evidence of different levels of expertise in the production of obsidian items of adornment at two late Neolithic communities in northern Mesopotamia. Journal of Lithic Studies, 1(2), 79–99.



Research Articles