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This volume builds upon the model of the first Stone Axe Studies volume published in 1979. It explores how scholars from various parts of the world currently approach these distinctive items. Some papers are united by specific material, such as those working on Jadeite axe blades in western and Central Europe. For others, the link is analytical (e.g., the development of new geochemical techniques), contextual (e.g., work on techniques of hafting or on patterns of deposition) or conceptual (e.g., the uses made of ethno-historic and related models). Taken together, they document the state of the art in stone axe research in Britain and abroad, at the same time providing a much needed basis for comparative study and for debate regarding analytical and interpretative issues.
The Neolithic —a period in which the first sedentary agrarian communities were established across much of Europe—has been a key topic of archaeological research for over a century. However, the variety of evidence across Europe, the range of languages in which research is carried out, and the way research traditions in different countries have developed makes it very difficult for both students and specialists to gain an overview of continent-wide trends. The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe provides the first comprehensive, geographically extensive, thematic overview of the European Neolithic —from Iberia to Russia and from Norway to Malta —offering both a general introduction and a clear exploration of key issues and current debates surrounding evidence and interpretation. Chapters written by leading experts in the field examine topics such as the movement of plants, animals, ideas, and people (including recent trends in the application of genetics and isotope analyses); cultural change (from the first appearance of farming to the first metal artefacts); domestic architecture; subsistence; material culture; monuments; and burial and other treatments of the dead. In doing so, the volume also considers the history of research and sets out agendas and themes for future work in the field.
The social processes involved in acquiring flint and stone in the Neolithic began to be considered over thirty years ago, promoting a more dynamic view of past extraction processes. Whether by quarrying, mining or surface retrieval, the geographic source locations of raw materials and their resultant archaeological sites have been approached from different methodological and theoretical perspectives. In recent years this has included the exploration of previously undiscovered sites, refined radiocarbon dating, comparative ethnographic analysis and novel analytical approaches to stone tool manufacture and provenancing. The aim of this volume in the Neolithic Studies Group Papers is to explore these new findings on extraction sites and their products. How did the acquisition of raw materials fit into other aspects of Neolithic life and social networks? How did these activities merge in creating material items that underpinned cosmology, status and identity? What are the geographic similarities, constraints and variables between the various raw materials, and how does the practise of stone extraction in the UK relate to wider extractive traditions in northwestern Europe? Eight papers address these questions and act as a useful overview of the current state of research on the topic.
Neolithic Britain is an up to date, concise introduction to the period of British prehistory from c. 4000-2200 BCE, covering key material and social developments, and reflecting on the nature of cultural practices, tradition, genealogy, and society across nearly two millennia.
1.1 Prologue What is archaeomineralogy? The term has been used at least once before (Mitchell 1985), but this volume is the first publication to lay down the scientific basis and systematics for this subdiscipline. Students sometimes call an introductory archaeology course "stones and bones." Archaeomineralogy covers the stones component of this phrase. Of course, archaeology consists of a great deal more than just stones and bones. Contemporary archaeology is based on stratigraphy, geomorphology, chronometry, behavioral inferences, and a host of additional disciplines in addition to those devoted to stones and bones. To hazard a definition: archaeomineralogy is the study of the minerals and rocks used by ancient societies over space and time, as implements, orna ments, building materials, and raw materials for ceramics and other processed products. Archaeomineralogy also attempts to date, source, or otherwise char acterize an artifact or feature, or to interpret past depositional alteration of archaeological contexts. Unlike geoarchaeology, archaeomineralogy is not, and is not likely to become, a recognized subdiscipline. Practitioners of archaeomineralogy are mostly geoarchaeologists who specialize in geology and have a strong background in mineralogy or petrology (the study of the origin ofrocks).

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