Neolithic artifacts made of nephrite, □Ca2(Fe,Mg)5Si8O22(OH)2, are found at prehistoric settlements in Bulgaria. This study investigates these objects based on particle induced X-ray emission using a scanning nuclear microprobe (micro-PIXE technique). Seven nephrite artifacts from the Neolithic sites of Kovachevo, Bulgarchevo and Galabnik in southwest Bulgaria were analyzed to quantify their composition and to establish if a correlation exists between the distribution of major and trace elements, color, impurities, and texture. The nephrite artifacts are tremolite in composition, with a proposed ultrabasic origin. Based on the geochemical data obtained by micro-PIXE, we divide the artifacts into Group 1 objects from the Kovachevo site and Group 2 objects from the Galabnik and Bulgarchevo sites. The analytical data and microprobe analyses are compared with geochemical data of nephrite from across the globe. The results are in a good agreement with previous electron microprobe and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy data. Our study provides a better understanding of the mineralogy and geochemistry of nephrite artifacts and helps to address questions regarding origin and the distribution of such materials in Bulgaria and other Balkan countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)