Event Details

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Obsidian Hydration Dating [Deeper Digs]

Registration Closed!

Obsidian Hydration Dating [Deeper Digs]

When: April 18, 2023 1:00-3:00 PM ET

Duration: 2 hours

Certification: RPA-certified


Individual Registration: $99 for SAA members; $149 for non-members

Group Registration: $139 for SAA members; $189 for non-members

Alexander Rogers, MS, MA, RPA, Maturango Museum Curator Emeritus

Alexander (Sandy) is Archaeology Curator Emeritus of the Maturango Museum of Ridgecrest, California. He holds advanced degrees in both physics and archaeological anthropology. Over the past 15 years he has published over twenty papers and two book chapters developing and applying the science and mathematics of obsidian hydration dating (OHD). He regularly conducts such analyses in support of CRM firms and academic projects, and is currently working with colleagues on further understanding of OHD at the molecular level. He has led OHD workshops at annual meetings of the Society for California Archaeology, the Association of Oregon Archaeologists, and the Northwest Anthropological Conference.
The goal of this seminar is to provide insight into the theory and methods of obsidian hydration dating (OHD), a useful addition to the archaeologists’ toolbox for chronometric analysis. It should help enable attendees to ask the right questions, principal investigators to select appropriate methods, and analysts in performing chronometric analyses. The workshop will cover the basic principles of obsidian hydration and the models employed in dating; how to control for temperature and obsidian water content; methods for computing a hydration rate; guidelines for data analysis; and numerous cautions. An link to download a summary document on OHD will be provided, and an Excel spreadsheet with numerical models for conducting an OHD analysis. Mathematics will be kept to a minimum, but cannot be avoided entirely.
  1. Describe the science behind obsidian hydration dating (OHD), especially recent advances
  2. Outline the key methods of determining ages with OHD, and the steps involved
  3. Highlight the limitations of the method, in terms of both accuracy and the consumptive nature of the lab work