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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Characterizing the hypersiliceous rocks of Belgium used in (pre-)history: a case study on sourcing sedimentary quartzites

Isis Veldeman, Jean-Marc Baele, Eric Goemaere, Marleen De Ceukelaire, Michiel Dusar and H W. A. De Doncker (2012)

Characterizing the hypersiliceous rocks of Belgium used in (pre-)history: a case study on sourcing sedimentary quartzites

Journal of Geophysics and Engineering(9):118-128.

Abstract Tracking raw material back to its extraction source is a crucial step for archaeologists when trying to deduce migration patterns and trade contacts in (pre-)history. Regarding stone artefacts, the main rock types encountered in the archaeological record of Belgium are hypersiliceous rocks. This is a newly introduced category of rock types comprising those rocks made of at least 90% silica. These are strongly silicified quartz sands or sedimentary quartzites, siliceous rocks of chemical and biochemical origin (e.g. flint), very pure metamorphic quartzites and siliceous volcanic rocks (e.g. obsidian). To be able to distinguish between different extraction sources, ongoing research was started to locate possible extraction sources of hypersiliceous rocks and to characterize rocks collected from these sources. Characterization of these hypersiliceous rocks is executed with the aid of optical polarizing microscopy, optical cold cathodoluminescence and scanning-electron microscopy combined with energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry and with back-scatter electron imaging. In this paper, we focus on various sedimentary quartzites of Paleogene stratigraphical level.
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