Session: #344

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological theory and methods beyond paradigms
Session format:

Title & Content

Stumbling Block or Common Ground? The Question of Standardisation of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Lithic Analysis [PaM]
Lithic material represents the dominant part of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeological record. Hence, lithic studies are an essential tool for analysing this record. Over the last one a half centuries different approaches to lithic studies have developed, often reflecting political, regional, and linguistic divisions. Consequently, approaches to lithic studies with different foci, methods, terminologies, and paradigms have co-existed for decades. With the development of computer-based analytical techniques, calls for greater comparability of data across larger areas and longer time periods grow louder. For this to be feasible, lithic studies need to become standardised in data collection methods and terminology.

But is this standardisation possible? Is it actually desirable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of diverse methodologies and research traditions? What might a standardised methodology and terminology of lithic analysis look like? What are the differences between the lithic studies of the Lower, Middle, Upper, Final Palaeolithic, and the Mesolithic? Where are the commonalities across the different national and regional research traditions?

In this discussion session, we want to identify areas of common ground and stumbling blocks in lithic studies and discuss the different possible scales of standardisation.
Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, lithic studies, standardisation, Europe
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Main organiser:
Sonja Grimm (Germany) 1,2
Alvaro Arrizabalaga (Spain) 3
Daniel GroƟ (Germany) 1,2
1. ZBSA - Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology
2. CRC 1266
3. Research Group in Prehistory (IT-622-13), University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)