Raw materials exploitation in Prehistory:

Sourcing, processing and distribution


10-12 March 2016, Faro - Portugal

GEOCHEMICAL-MINERALOGICAL PROVENANCE DETERMINATION OF STONE TOOLS AND THEIR ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS: SCIENTIFIC METHODS, DATA BACKGROUND AND DATA EVALUATION

 

Stefanie WEFERS - i3mainz – Institute for Spatial Information and Surveying Technology, Mainz University of Applied Sciences, GERMANY (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Tatjana Mirjam GLUHAK - Institute for Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, GERMANY (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

The geochemical-mineralogical characterisation of raw materials used for stone tools together with the determination of their provenance plays a decisive role to promote our understanding of production, trade and distribution systems in the past. The analyses of stone tools often bear the potential to lead us to their raw material sources, and the intensive study of the variability of extraction sites through intensive sampling and their petrological analyses provide the necessary data background to reliably determine an artefact’s provenance. In general specific rock types are chosen to produce certain tools, reflecting a preference which lies in the quality of the materials and various other technological-related characteristics, as e.g. durability, texture, hardness, weight, resistance to abrasion of the tools, or the possibility of a controlled raw material extraction in the quarry. Sometimes however, the selection of a certain raw material lies beyond the functional requirement, which indicates traditions for their manufacture. Furthermore, the specific raw material selection for specific tool types often means favouring non-local raw material, which consequently implies complex procurement and distribution systems. The untangling of these syst ems can only be achieved by reliable petrological provenance analyses of the raw materials used.

The session aims to be the frame for papers addressing their chosen geochemical-mineralogical methods for lithic raw material characterisation, the creation of data backgrounds for provenance analyses, data treatment and evaluation (e.g. statistic approaches, GIS evaluations etc.) linked to archaeological research questions.

 

Keywords: Stone tools, provenance determinations, analytical methods, data treatment, data interpretation