Session: #205

Theme & Session Format

6. Material culture studies and societies
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Lithic Raw Materials in Prehistory: Methods, Practice and Theory. Part 1
Lithic materials are the oldest provable culture bearing resources in human history, demonstrated by the wide array of their use in the profane and sacred spheres of life. Due to their abundance, versatility and longevity, lithic artefacts are ideally suited for approaching and interpreting past human behaviour through the reconstruction of resource management, i.e. the procurement either directly or through distribution networks, the processing, use and eventual discarding, which represents the complete chaîne opératoire of lithic production and artefact biographies . From a diachronic perspective, such studies can reveal dynamic processes relating to the development of economic behaviour, production strategies and traditions, landscape use, contact spheres, routes of migration, and distribution networks. Successfully reconstructing these processes however crucially depends on the ability to trace these materials back to their original sources. Despite the obvious importance of provenance studies in archaeology, attempts to generate characteristic “fingerprints” of particular raw materials are still not widely available and remain challenging endeavours. Consequently, this session focuses on analytical techniques applied to various lithic raw materials from all geographical regions , and their potential for tracing lithic resource management. This topical issue can be tackled from a multitude of perspectives, which hold the promise for significantly enhancing our insights into past economic behaviours on a large international and multidisciplinary scale.
We cordially invite researchers from diverse backgrounds to contribute to this undertaking.
Lithic materials, Prehistoric resource management, Lithic economy, Chaîne opératoire, Provenance analyses, Distribution networks
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Main organiser:
Michael Brandl (Austria) 1
Maria Martinez (United States) 2
Maria Gurova (Bulgaria) 3
1. Austrian Academy of Sciences, OREA-Institute
2. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian
3. National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences