Abstracts G-I

Poster: More than a Toolstone: Ground and Polished Objects of Obsidian in the Near East
>Elizabeth Healey, University of Manchester

In prehistoric, and even in some later sites, in the Near East we are accustomed to obsidian being knapped alongside chert and flint as a toolstone; we are much less familiar with its use for jewelry, mirrors, bowls and so on. These objects are fairly unusual but occur widely. Most, after their initial preparation, are finished by grinding and polishing. The degree of finish varies but sometimes the objects are very highly polished while others appear quite rudimentarily worked. Unfortunately we have virtually no evidence of workshops and only a few part-finished pieces. Mostly we have to rely on tell-tale signs of manufacture on the objects themselves then test our observations and inferences through experimentation. This poster will review the evidence for the manufacture of such objects from a range of sites in the Near East.

Traditional and Geometric Morphometric Approaches to Concurrent Middle Palaeolithic Technologies
Christian S Hoggard (CAHO, University of Southampton)
The Middle Palaeolithic (c.300,000 – c.41,000 BP) is characterised by a diverse array of technological lithic strategies focussing on the production of flake and blade-based morphologies. With extensive reinvestigations of archived assemblages, and the discovery of new sites, the traditional dichotomy of Levalloisian and non-Levalloisian strategies is no longer supported with an abundance of other strategies becoming more apparent in the archaeological record. While studies of Middle Palaeolithic technological diversity have focused on diachronic change and cultural transmission methodological frameworks grounded on aspects of function, particularly the shape and form of artefacts, are lacking – this is particularly so for concurrent technological strategies.
This talk outlines the application of studies into the shape and form of Middle Palaeolithic concurrent Levallois and Laminar technological blade strategies. These two methods of technological blade production are represented throughout most parts of the European Middle Palaeolithic, occurring concurrently in the majority of examples. Very little is, however, known about these two blade strategies: do the represent equifinal behaviour or differing behaviours? Do they become more standardised throughout the Middle Palaeolithic as assumed? And what aspects of their shape and form can possibly explain their presence, in addition to their atavistic nature?
Archaeological and experimental blades from both Laminar and Levallois technological blade strategies were analysed through traditional and geometric morphometric methodologies. Using 2D Closed Outline Analyses (Elliptical Fourier and Extended Eigenshape Analyses). In conjunction with univariate/multivariate statistical analyses of the principal component scores, and extensive linear measurements, results suggest significant differences in the shape and form of these two blade strategies which provide working hypotheses to explain their concurrency. The application, and possibility of 3D Geometric Morphometric Analyses are then finally discussed