Raw materials exploitation in Prehistory:

Sourcing, processing and distribution

10-12 March 2016, Faro - Portugal


Open session: 




Jacek LECH - Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Warsaw Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) 


From the collection of coarse volcanic blocks in Lomekwi to the outstanding flint mines such as Krzemionki Opatowskie, Grime's Graves or Spiennes, raw material acquisition was always the first step of an artifact chaîne opératoire. However, the methods, techniques and tools employed in their extraction changed, not only through time but also from region to region. At the same time, the continuous or intermittent use of a specific source had different reasons related to different factors such as the existence of human occupation itself in the region, and to the knowledge and visibility of, and access to, the source. The combination of these archaeological factors can be combined with paleoenvironmental and paleoscape data and converted into inferences on territoriality, behavior ecology, settlement patterns, technology, cognition and social complexity of past human populations.

In this open session we would like to invite researchers to present their results on recent or current research projects focusing on prehistoric quarries and mines, regardless of the raw material studied. Among other questions we would like to focus issues such as: from which sources, and for what purpose, were people exploiting specific raw materials? What were the time spans of their exploitation? What was the range of distribution of those raw materials? What is the relationship between the exploitation of certain sources and global and local environmental shifts, the cognitive abilities, or the social complexity of the human populations?