Session: #213

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Humans beyond Arrowheads. Questioning the Interpretative Value of Arrowheads and Other Tools for Reconstructing People Identities in Prehistoric Societies [PaM]
Since the 1970’ies archaeological and ethnographic studies (Gendel 1982, 1984, Hodder 1977, Wiessner 1983) have explored the potentiality of arrowheads as a meaningful parameter for measuring the ethnographic identities of prehistoric groups and the relationships among them. Later on, mainly in connection with the diffusion of technological studies, this assumption has been questioned on different grounds although remaining one of the fundamental notions for the identification and definition of past techno-complexes. This session aims at exploring and discussing the validity of this assumption by analyzing the archaeological and/or ethnographic evidence from different geographical and chronological contexts referable to hunter-gatherer as well as agro-pastoral societies. By doing so the session aims at fostering the debate on the theoretical and interpretative implications of the study of material culture. Such a debate is expected to do not only focus on arrowheads and lithic tools but also to include comparisons with other kinds of archaeological evidence such as ornaments, burial rituals, pottery and other technical traditions etc.
Prehistory, arrowheads, palaeoethnography, material culture, people identities
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Main organiser:
Davide Visentin (Italy) 1
Federica Fontana (Italy) 1
Sonja Grimm (Germany) 2,3
1. Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università degli Studi di Ferrara
2. ZBSA - Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology
3. CRC 1266