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jade gouge from Emirau Island, Papua New Guinea (Early Lapita context, 3300 BP): a unique jadeitite

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A small stone artifact fashioned as a wood-carving gouge, discovered during an archaeological excavation on Emirau Island, Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea, has been determined to consist of jadeitite – jadeite jade. It is very unusual with respect to both pyroxene composition and minor mineral constituents. Pyroxene compositions lie essentially along the jadeite–aegirine join: Jd94Ae6 to Jd63Ae36, and without any coexisting omphacite. This contrasts with Jd-Di or Jd-Aug compositional trends commonly observed in jadeitites worldwide. Paragonite and albite occur in veins and cavities with minor titanite, epidote-allanite, and zircon, an assemblage seen in a few jadeitites. Surprisingly, some titanite contains up to 6 wt% Nb2O5 with only trace Ta and a single grain of a Y-Nb phase (interpreted as fergusonite) is present; these are unique for jadeitite. A possible source is along the Torare River in northeast Papua, Indonesia, from which samples of “chloromelanite” (actually jadeitite) were collected by C.E.A. Wichmann in 1903 near Humboldt Bay along with stone adzes fashioned from the same material.
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Keywords: ARTIFACT; BLUESCHIST FACIES; JADE; JADEITITE; PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2012

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  • The European Journal of Mineralogy publishes original papers, review articles and letters dealing with the mineralogical sciences s.l. These include primarily mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, crystallography and ore deposits, as well as environmental, applied and technical mineralogy. Nevertheless, papers in any related field, including cultural heritage, will be considered.
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