Raw materials exploitation in Prehistory:

Sourcing, processing and distribution

10-12 March 2016, Faro - Portugal



Xavier TERRADAS - CSIC-IMF. Archaeology of Social Dynamics. Egipciaques, 15. 08001 Barcelona, SPAIN (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Handling raw materials by means of experimentation has become a continuous experience from the beginning of mankind. So, human societies have been trying to modify the original conditions of several matters in order to take advantage of the new got physical and mechanical properties. The aim was to produce materials more suitable for the human purposes than those originally offered by nature. Regarding the archaeological record examples can be found everywhere. Perhaps the most evident and widespread is the heat treatment of rocks and minerals. The pursued objectives by heating materials, blanks or products can be diverse: either to change its properties for knapping or retouching processes, to favour obtaining of standardised products, to improve its effectiveness in some productive processes, to modify its colouring or other.

Proposals focussing intentional changes promoted by humans with the intention to improve the original conditions of any type of raw material are welcomed. The topic of the Session can be faced by means of communications taking into account the nature of changes, processes implemented, objectives pursued, archaeometrical approaches to attest them, etc. Contributions can face these topics starting from specific archaeological cases, interrogating about its causality, from the point of view of experimental research, reproducing the procedures followed or testing their effectiveness, or by proposals mixing both approaches.


Keywords: Heating of raw materials; physical nature; mechanical properties; effectiveness improvement; experimental research.