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Into the volcano

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/2016
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Obsidian is an enigmatic natural volcanic material that has been used by humans throughout archaeological time writes Fabian Wadsworth. It has been used as a precious jewel and a sharp tool, with trade routes extending across continents. Its utility surely derives from the ease with which it can be shaped to purpose while maintaining durability, strength or desirable lustre. It is certainly a material that engenders mystical associations, whether in the form of the dragonglass material’s ability to shatter White Walkers (in George Martin’s Game of Thrones) or John Dee’s (AD 1527-1608) occult mirror tool (British Museum item M&ME 1966, 10-1,1). Yet despite its long history of use and fascination, the processes by which this volcanic glass forms have only recently received close scientific attention.