Grounding Raw Materials at Chlorakas-Palloures - Artefact Typologies and Stone selection in Chalcolithic Cyprus

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Grounding Raw Materials at Chlorakas-Palloures - Artefact Typologies and Stone selection in Chalcolithic Cyprus

Type: Master thesis
Title: Grounding Raw Materials at Chlorakas-Palloures - Artefact Typologies and Stone selection in Chalcolithic Cyprus
Author: Modderman, Ruben
Issue Date: 2017-08-30
Keywords: Cyprus, Groundstone objects, Chalcolithic, Typology
Abstract: For the past thirty years excavations in western Cyprus have taken place and uncovered substantial settlements from the Chalcolithic period (ca. 3800-2300 BC). One of the most recent excavations is the project of Chlorakas-Palloures, which first started during the summer of 2015. The project is a rescue excavation before the plot of land will be occupied by hotels or villas. During the past two years, architecture, burials and many artefacts were recovered from the sites and proved that this site is a valuable asset to Chalcolithic archaeology. The specific topic of this thesis is ground stone. The ground stone category consists of most stone artefacts, except for those that can be identified as chipped stone. The aim of this thesis was to identify the materials used for the object classes of this material and determine why these materials were used. The results of Palloures were then compared to those of the nearby sites of Kissonerga-Mosphilia, Kissonerga-Mylouthkia and Lemba-Lakkous, all of which have yielded large amounts of ground stone artefacts and quite well documented. Despite the close proximity of all sites, there turned out to be quite a degree of local variance, although this was more noticeable in some classes than others. Artefact stone selection could be explained by a couple of factors: Local availability, functionality and sometimes aesthetics, and convenience. Objects require a certain material to be used in order to be effective, which has to be available in order to be used. Objects with multiple forms of use-wear appear to have been used either sequentially or concomitantly. The former are particularly suitable for the convenience model, since the original purpose of the object is no longer in use, and the tool has been reshaped, most likely to avoid the unnecessary wasting of material. A large amount of materials were used for multiple tool classes and several object classes have been used simultaneously for two different functions and have the use-wear matching these functions. It would be convenient to be able to use one object for multiple purposes and not having to carry around more tools than necessary. Although many theories can be come up with to explain material selection, it is not without problems. Differences in detail of excavation reports, dated approaches to the material and the lack of experimental archaeology to explore the possibilities of rock types increase the difficulty significantly. I suspect that employing experimental archaeology actively within the field of ground stone could increase our understanding of the material and therefore the Chalcolithic community as a whole.
Supervisor: Düring, Bleda
Faculty: Faculty of Archaeology
Department: Archaeology (Master)
Specialisation: Classical and Mediterranean/Near Eastern Archaeology
ECTS Credits: 20

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