Scientific article
Open access

How to deal with an elephant in the room? Understanding "non-flint" raw materials: Characterisation and technological organisation

Published inArkeoGazte, no. 12, p. 73-98
First online date2022-07-27

The increasing approaches to non-flint lithic raw materials are widening our understanding of the economy around lithic resources by prehistoric societies. The characterisation of stone using geoarchaeological disciplines, the identification of technological features on stone artefacts, and the spatio-temporal organisation of lithic reduction sequences are promoting new narratives in lithic studies. Although such lithic studies have gained attention over the last decades, approaches combining different scientific disciplines are still rare. Traditionally, these raw materials, among others: quartz, quartzite, hornfels, limestone or slate, have only been considered as alternative resources in those territories void of flint outcrops. However, they are also present worldwide, playing different techno-economic roles. In addition, the lack of protocol standardisation for the understanding of these raw materials and the mainly flint-minded perspective to understand lithic technology are promoting the underrepresentation of research dealing with non-flint rocks but also the potential historic and human narratives that are hidden on them.

This paper aims to bring to the scientific debate the presentations and discussions that have taken place in the session “Understanding Non-Flint Raw materials: Characterisation and Technological Organisation”; from the Rock and Roll: 13th International Symposium on Knappable materials. The information given by the nine communications sheds light on new methodologies to deal with different raw materials than flint worldwide but, especially, they contribute to the understanding of these rocks and the technological organisation of the artefacts created on them by Pleistocene and Holocene societies. Complex technological management, varied procurement strategies, complementary management of resources, the understanding of chronocultural markers, or the comprehension of the nature of lithic assemblages are some of the topics here addressed. In addition, in this paper, we think about the so-called non-flint raw materials and suggest new directions to continue researching them.

  • Lithic Technology
  • Lithic raw materials
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Epistemology
  • Neolithic
Citation (ISO format)
PRIETO, Alejandro et al. How to deal with an elephant in the room? Understanding ‘non-flint’ raw materials: Characterisation and technological organisation. In: ArkeoGazte, 2022, n° 12, p. 73–98.
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:163603
ISSN of the journal2174-856X

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