Jade and greenstone in the prehistory of Sicily and Southern Italy

Robert Leighton, John E. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The authors consider the specific nature and possible provenance of the various rock types commonly described as ‘jades’or ‘greenstones’from which some of the prehistoric axes and adzes in southern Italy and Sicily were made. Despite the presence of jadeite-rich pyroxenes in Calabrian metamorphic rocks, a non-local origin, probably in the north Italian or Alpine zone, seems more likely for ‘jadeite’implements in the south. By contrast, nephrite and serpentinite artifacts probably derive from sources in southern Basilicata, Calabria, and possibly northeastern Sicily, where alluvial deposits or natural outcrops could have been exploited. Certain aspects of procurement and techniques of manufacture are comparable with others recorded ethnographically. Evidence emerges for long-distance as well as local and interregional exchange.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-200
Number of pages22
JournalOxford Journal of Archaeology
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1992

Keywords

  • Jade
  • stone axes
  • Neolithic
  • Italy
  • Sicily

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