Steps in establishing provenance for obsidian artifacts:

1. Inventory, sample, and analyze known obsidian sources.

2. Establish a geochemical reference group for each source.

3. Analyze artifacts and assign to "best-fit" reference group.

 

Obsidian flow

Because there are a limited number of obsidian sources in the landscape, many provenance projects begin by creating a regional data-base characterizing known obsidian flows.

Obsidian artifacts

Oregon State University Archaeometry Lab