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The non-destructive application of reflectance spectroscopy within chert provenance studies is evaluated and the implications of archaeological source determination of chert artifacts are discussed. The combined use of Visible Near-infrared (VNIR) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) reflectance spectroscopy demonstrate the accurate, fast and relatively low cost for the characterization of geological deposits of chert and the potential identification of source for chert archaeological materials. Reflectance spectroscopy gathers data on the trace and minor mineral components within a sample as identified by subtle absorption peaks and slope changes. The variable range of spectral features per sample, per deposit, per geological formation is potentially diagnostic for a geographically isolated deposit of chert. A chert sample database consisting of 2430 samples from the Midwestern and Southeastern United States is utilized to illustrate the accuracy of reflectance spectroscopy at characterizing chert deposits for archaeological use.
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